Kagame Defends Court Decisions to Ban Opponents During Campaign Rally

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame launched his election campaign on Saturday at a rally in northern Rwanda, where he asserted that the country’s democracy reflects the unique reality of its citizens. Kagame also took a swipe at allegations he is stifling opposition and defended recent decisions by Rwandan courts that effectively banned two of his strongest opponents, Bernard Ntaganda and Victoire Ingabire, from contesting in the upcoming election. The two had approached the courts to overturn previous convictions that meant they couldn’t participate in the election but had been denied. Kagame, who has been in power for 24 years, will be facing Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana in the upcoming election on July 15 but is expected to win comfortably. His tenure has seen Rwanda’s significant economic recovery post the 1994 genocide but has also faced criticism over human rights abuses and political repression.


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