Thursday, June 20, 2024

Victoire Ingabire: Rwandan opposition leader barred from election


Victoire Ingabire, a prominent opposition leader in Rwanda. Courtesy AFP
Victoire Ingabire, a prominent opposition leader in Rwanda. Courtesy AFP

Victoire Ingabire, a prominent opposition figure, has had her efforts to lift a ban on her running in July’s presidential election blocked by a court in Rwanda.

She was freed in 2018 after spending eight years in prison for threatening state security and “belittling” the 1994 genocide.

In Rwanda, people who have been jailed for more than six months are barred from running in elections.

Ms Victoire Ingabire said the court’s ruling was politicised.

“The refusal of my rehabilitation is not merely a personal attack but is emblematic of the broader issues facing our nation, issues that human rights organisations and development partners of Rwanda have long criticised,” Ms Ingabire said in a statement released on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Outside court in the capital, Kigali, the 55-year-old politician said: “I don’t agree with what the judge said, and unfortunately you can’t appeal before two years.

“We are still far from a law-abiding country.”

Ms Victoire Ingabire is an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame, who has been the dominant force in the country for three decades.

He secured more than 90% of the votes in presidential elections in 2003, 2010 and 2017 – and changes to constitution mean he could potentially stay in power for another 10 years.

The 66-year-old president has faced criticism from rights groups, which have accused him of cracking down on the opposition.

But Mr Kagame has in the past fiercely defended Rwanda’s record on human rights, saying his country respects political freedoms.

There is currently only one challenger to the president in July’s election in the shape of the Green Party’s Frank Habineza, the AFP news agency reports.

He won 0.45% of the vote in 2017.

In 2010, Ms Victoire Ingabire returned from exile in the Netherlands to take part in that year’s presidential election.

But she was arrested, prevented from standing and later sentenced to 15 years in prison. After she was pardoned in 2018, she went on to found the Dalfa-Umurinzi opposition party.

Ms Victoire Ingabire, a member of the Hutu ethnic group, had got into trouble for questioning why Rwanda’s official memorial to the 1994 genocide did not include any Hutus.

Most of the 800,000 people killed in the space of 100 days were ethnic Tutsis but Hutu moderates were also slaughtered by the Hutu extremists.

Mr Kagame’s Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel group – now a political party – put an end to the genocide.



  1. Rwanda is in safe hands. Democracy is just putting people in power who are endorsed by America and Britain.

  2. The treatment of opposition leaders in Rwanda diminishes the little democratic credentials Rwanda can be thought of, therefore, unfit for UK asylum seekers to be air freighted to Rwanda for safety. Every dictator in this world has had their time elapsed at some stage. The world goes on its usual course, day, month, year and new players come on the scene. Fate awaits those who were entrusted with authority for accountability.

Comments are closed.

Read more

Local News

Discover more from Lusaka Times-Zambia's Leading Online News Site -

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading