With yesterday’s local elections held while opposition democratic parties are still barred from registration or any meaningful participation, all their leaders and independent journalists jailed or in forced exile and all independent newspapers suspended or forced to operate from exile, this exercise was a mockery of democracy and an insult to the Rwandan people.
This useless electoral exercise was marred with lots of anomalies like candidates pretending to be elected only on merit when they actually belong to the ruling party and unwanted candidates being eliminated from the race by the regime using a whole range of tricks, alternating threats and promises, with the aim of dissuading some and persuading others. These maneuvers drove many candidates into forsaking their wish to enter in the race or withdrawing their candidatures, including on the very day of polls, plunging voters and local electoral agents into confusion.
Above all, its legal frame was undemocratic and the electoral commission an appendix of the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front.
For the FDU-INKINGI, under the aforementioned circumstances, these elections, just like last years’ presidential polls, were both a waste of the country’s limited resources and a proof that the autocratic regime in Kigali has decided to keep its autistic stance towards the urging demands of the Rwandan people equal rights and freedom.
Rwandans should keep mobilizing and organizing to take full control of their destiny.
Done at Lyon, February 22, 2011
First Vice Chair