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Kagame's female rival not on provisional list of presidential candidates

Ms Diane Shima Rwigara. COURTESY PHOTO

Ms Diane Shima Rwigara. COURTESY PHOTO  

By Emmanuel Ainebyoona

The future of Diane Shima Rwigara as a candidate in the race for Rwanda's next president now hangs in the balance after the National Electoral Commission of Rwanda (NEC) released a provisional list of presidential candidates without her name on it.

The NEC stated that she had failed to meet the nomination requirements in order to challenge president Paul Kagame in the August 4 polls.

A provisional list released by the NEC Chairman, Prof Kalisa Mbanda, on Tuesday indicated that only President Paul Kagame, a candidate of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and Frank Habineza, the flag bearer of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda had made it to the provisional list.

Prof Mbanda indicated that Ms Rwigara and four other independent aspirants have only five days to update their files if they are to contest.

"Independents Diane Shima Rwigara and Gilbert Mwenedata have not been confirmed because their files lack components," said Prof Mbanda, adding, "We verified the signatures and the independent candidates fell short of the required number in all districts."

According Rwanda's electoral laws, independent presidential aspirants are required to present 600 signatures with at least 12 from each of the 30 districts of Rwanda, proof of Rwandan Citizenship and the birth certificate, among others.

At the Tuesday press briefing held in Kigali, the NEC chairman told journalists that some candidates had more than 600 signatures but it was found out that the people were not from the districts indicated on their documents.

"They have five days to bring the missing elements in their files. They are both missing signatures from all districts," he added.
Ms Rwigara, 35, the only female challenger submitted her nomination documents to NEC on Tuesday last week.

However, after submitting her documents, Ms Rwigara alleged that local leaders targeted her supporters with intimidation and threats while collecting signatures.

Campaigns are expected to start on July 7 and elections on August 3 for Rwandans in the diaspora followed by the general elections on August 4. However, Ms Rwigara and Mr Mwenedata will have to be approved by the NEC to contest for presidency.


Gwokto La'Kitgum
"Even a small dog can piss on a tall building" Jim Hightower

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