Rwanda

Rwigara Disqualified from Rwanda Presidential Race over Signatures

Prof Mbanda addressing the media in Kigali, Rwanda on Friday (Photo: Edmund Kagire)

Three presidential aspirants, including the current leader Paul Kagame, have been approved as candidates in the race ahead of the August polls.

The two others are Frank Habineza and Philippe Mpayimana.

The aspirants who were disqualified by the country’s electoral commission are Diane Rwigara, Gilbert Mwenedata and Fred Sekikubo Barafinda.

The EC boss Prof Kalisa Mbanda on Friday told journalists in Kigali that the affected aspirants
“didn’t fulfil the requirements, especially the signatures.”

The disqualification of Rwigara is likely to spark debate on social media as she had already attracted significant media attention.

She had equally mobilized support from the international community especially in the European Union.

Prof Mbanda said aspirants who did not make it on the final list were given 5 days within which to submit documents they were short of in vain.

The European Union ambassadors recently met the National Electoral Commission and had a wide-ranging exchange on how candidates will be able to raise funds, campaign, hold public meetings and have equal access to media, and how voters will be informed.

The diplomats also protested the electoral body’s plans to regulate social media use by presidential candidates.

But this was seen as interference in Rwanda’s internal affairs.

President Kagame expressed shock that European Ambassadors in Rwanda were meeting with presidential candidates ahead of the August polls.

“Diplomatic missions summoning presidential candidates to explain themselves, is unacceptable,” said Kagame.

“The diplomatic missions here are not and should not replace the electoral commission,” he added.

Kagame said he couldn’t “understand the electoral commission work as waiting for EU representative to tell them how to do their work.”

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