Saturday 17 March 2018

Rwanda's Greens face threats and violence

Daniel Howden in London

RWANDA'S democratic credentials have been questioned amid evidence that authorities are blocking efforts by the country's Green Party to contest this year's elections.

The new Greens have been repeatedly thwarted in their attempts to register the party, their meetings have been violently broken up or blocked by police and their leader has had anonymous death threats.

The central African nation has won international praise for its green record and is the host of this year's UN World Environment Day.

"But through police harassment and intimidation they are stopping us registering the party," said party leader Frank Habineza.

The politician, formerly an official with the Rwandan Patriotic Front, has also had a series of death threats, culminating in a recent front page in the newspaper 'Umeseso' headlined, "Frank Habineza to be killed in 60 days".

The report, which cited anonymous sources, claimed security agents would target the politician.

"The government dismisses what is written in 'Umeseso', but then it tends to come true," said Mr Habineza. "I am scared but I still believe a government should protect its citizens. I am not a criminal; I just have different ideas." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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