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Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire faces political exclusion from participating in the forthcoming presidential elections

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Serge Kabongo

Mar 13, 2024

Rwanda Elections2024

Rwanda court upholds election ban on opposition politician Victoire Ingabire

In a recent development in Rwanda's political landscape, the High Court in Kigali has ruled to reject opposition politician Victoire Ingabire's request to have her presidential clemency conditions reviewed. This decision effectively bars Ingabire from running in the forthcoming presidential elections in July.

Ingabire, a prominent figure in Rwanda's opposition, had previously been convicted of threatening state security and minimizing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. She was released in 2018 after serving eight years in prison. In her bid to run for president, Ingabire sought "rehabilitation" to have her rights restored.

The court's decision was based on the fact that Ingabire had not fully met the conditions of her presidential pardon, which included a ban on running for office. The court maintained that these conditions were necessary to uphold the rule of law and protect the integrity of the electoral process.

In response to the court's ruling, Ingabire released a statement expressing her disappointment and determination to continue her fight for democracy and human rights in Rwanda. She also pointed out that the decision highlights broader issues in the country, such as the lack of independence of the judiciary and the suppression of opposition voices.

The Rwandan government, however, maintains that the court's decision is fair and by the law. They argue that Ingabire's past actions and convictions make her ineligible to run for public office.

The rejection of Ingabire's request has sparked debate among human rights organizations and development partners of Rwanda, who have long criticized the country's political environment for limiting opposition and free speech.

As Rwanda prepares for its presidential elections in July, the absence of a prominent opposition figure like Victoire Ingabire raises questions about the state of democracy and political competition in the country.

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