Another Kagame opponent charged

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Another Kagame opponent charged
Friday, June 25, 2010 
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Another opponent of Rwandan President Paul Kagame has been excluded from running in the upcoming elections.

According to opposition officials, Victoire Ingabire, an ethnic Hutu candidate has been denied the right to appear on the ballot following charges of denying the country's genocide.

In Rwanda this is a punishable offense and Ingabire, who returned to Rwanda in January after 16 years in exile, could face up to two decades in prison.

Kagame, an ethnic Tutsi, submitted his papers Thursday to run in the August election while Ingabire was refused.

Recently there have been allegations that Kagame is linked to the alleged assassination attempt on General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, the former Rwandan army chief turned diplomat. He was shot by a gunman in Johannesburg,South Africa. Nyamwasa is currently in exile after fleeing Rwanda in February after falling foul of Kagame.

According to the BBC Kagame has repeatedly made disparaging remarks concerning Nyamwasa and the former head of external military intelligence, Patrick Karengeya. Both men, former close allies of the president, have repeatedly attacked his integrity claiming that he was using front companies to enrich himself.

This seems to follow a worrying trend in that all political opponents of Kagame appear to meet an unfortunate fate.

In 2000 Kagame took over from deposed President Pasteur Bizimungu. The latter had been “President” from 1994 but it was always suspected that - as Kagame’s deputy in the Rwandan Patriotic Front and a Hutu - he was simply a figurehead to give comfort to the majority of the population. When he began raising concerns over political crackdowns he was tossed aside and later imprisoned.

In 1994 the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana, - President of the Republic of Rwanda from 1973 to 1994 - whose plane was shot down close to Kigali International Airport was attributed by French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, to orders given by Kagame. As a result he issued international indictments against nine of President Kagame's senior aides, and accused Kagame of ordering the assassination of the two African presidents but this never resulted in him being prosecuted. That assassination sparked the Rwandan genocide.

It might be coincidence but all those who stand in the way of Kagame achieving or retaining power come to grief.

Either they are charged, imprisoned or shot.

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