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Three candidates disqualified from Rwanda's presidential election

08 Juillet 2017

The electoral commission's announcement comes as Amnesty International charges that the election will be held under a "climate of fear" and repression.

"Rwandans have faced huge, and often deadly, obstacles to participating in public life and voicing criticism of government policy", Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty's regional director for East Africa, said in a statement.

Rwanda's electoral commission on Friday disqualified three candidates for next month's presidential election, including the only woman, saying they didn't fulfil requirements such as collecting enough supporting signatures.

Kagame is credited with leading Rwanda to stability and impressive economic growth but critics say he is an authoritarian who is intolerant of legitimate opposition. Other nominees, including Diane Rwigara, are still awaiting approval.

Rwandans go to the polls on August 4.

Shima Rwigara is another aspirant who missed out due to several gaps in her credentials. In his most recent remarks, broadcast by Rwanda Television on Tuesday, Kagame accused some Western diplomats of meddling in the country's internal affairs and urged them to stop.

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It was not immediately possible to get a comment from Rwanda' government regarding the allegations by Amnesty.

Observers do not expect any serious challenge to Kagame and his RPF party's rule in the coming election.

President Paul Kagame has already served two terms but will stand for re-election following a referendum in December 2015 which ushered in constitutional changes allowing him to contest a third term.

"This will be the first election where the ruling party will compete with an opposition party since the country was returned to democratic rule in 2003", it said.

Damascene's family were called to collect his body from hospital a few days later, and his party believes he was murdered because he opposed the government's agricultural planning policy, according to Amnesty.

Three candidates disqualified from Rwanda's presidential election