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Political repression in Rwanda, as August 2010 elections approach Special

By Ann Garrison     Dec 30, 2009 in Politics
Harsh anti-gay legislation proposed in both Uganda and Rwanda has turned more Western attention to East Africa than anything since the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, though Westerners drink coffee and tea grown in Rwanda every day, while Rwandans go hungry.
On 12.24.2009, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, released a detailed account of how Rwandan President Paul Kagame's government, dominated by the Rwandan Patriotic Front Party, continues to harass its members as they attempt to register, as a party, and register voters, prior to Rwanda's August 2010 national election.
"We are nonviolent, in keeping with the 10 key values of Green Parties all over the world, and we have members from all over Rwanda," said Frank Habineza, Interim Rwanda Green Party Chair, "but they continue to threaten and harass us and block our party registration with one bureaucratic excuse after another. If they want to keep us out, hold a fake election, and get 99% of the vote in 2010, then they have to say so."
Frank Habineza  Interim Chair  Democratic Green Party of Rwanda
Frank Habineza, Interim Chair, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda
The region and its politics are obscure to most Westerners, especially Americans. Harsh anti-gay legislation now proposed in both Uganda and Rwanda, with the backing of the Christian Right, has turned more attention to this part of the world than anything since the 1994 tragedy known as the Rwanda Genocide, though every day, many Westerners drink Starbuck's coffee and tea, grown on Rwanda's rich agricultural land while most Rwandans are visibly malnourished, surviving on one meal a day, and Walnut Creek, California-based Eco Fuels Global plants jatropha to make bio fuels on more Rwandan agricultural land.
Western electronics and military industries make much use of the mineral wealth smuggled out of neighboring D.R. Congo for export from Rwanda, the U.S.A.'s closest ally in Africa.
Amidst all the political parties, tendencies, armies, militias, natural resources, foreign involvements, and human rights abuse in this part of the world, the goal of a free and fair election in Rwanda, in August 2010, is basic and comprehensible.
The Rwanda Greens are not the only party being systematically excluded, harassed, even arrested and injured. The Parti Sociale Imberakuri, and the United Democratic Forces of Rwanda, are as well.
Many Rwandans and African investigators believe that these three opposing parties, in coalition, could win if allowed to register, now, and participate in a free and fair election in Rwanda, in August 2010.
The Parti Social Imberakuri has been allowed to register, as a party, but is now in danger of losing their party status and ballot line, and the Rwandan government has stopped exiled leaders of the United Democratic Forces from returning to Rwanda to enter the election.
Kigali Police shut down the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda s third attempt to convene as a party o...
Kigali Police shut down the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda's third attempt to convene as a party on 10.02.2009, charging that their permit to meet lacked official approval. Provocateurs disrupted their fourth attempt, on 10.30.2009, which ended in broken bones and arrests, and the Rwandan government has not granted them a permit to convene again since.
Democratic Green Party of Rwanda
The Rwanda New Times recently reported that Kagame's RPF government had accused the Parti Social Imberakuri of "the politics of divisionism," in "Senate may take PS Imberakuri to court."
Political repression is equally harsh in neighboring Uganda, where the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009, a.k.a., the Hang the Gays Bill threatens any and everyone, gay or straight, with selective, politically motivated incarceration, for "aiding and abetting homosexuality," and/or for failing to report homosexuals and other aiders and abetters.
Uganda's elections are scheduled for July 2011, as are neighboring Congo's, and the issues and outcomes of these three elections are closely intertwined by:
1) foreign intervention, including that of the anti-gay Christian Right, and, the U.S. Africa Command,
2) violent conflict, largely manipulated by foreign powers, over the enormous mineral wealth of Eastern Congo, and,
3) the vast oil reserves on the Uganda/Congo border and vast natural gas reserves on the Rwanda/Congo border.
Human Rights Watch has issued a detailed report, Preparing for the Polls, Improving Accountability for Electoral Violence in Uganda, regarding Uganda's election, and both Human Rights Watch, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative have argued for human rights and electoral reform in Rwanda. Green Parties around the world continue to call for political inclusion of the Rwanda's Democratic Greens and other parties, but, to no avail.
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