Rwanda: The Young And The Restless


June 1, 2010: A potential Hutu presidential candidate in Rwanda is claiming repression of the Hutu opposition by the predominantly Tutsi-led government. Victorie Ingabire is currently under detention herself. She was arrested in late April and charged with the crime of promoting a genocidal ideology. Ingabire countered the charges by saying she is only exercising her right to speak freely. Ingabire leads the United Democratic Forces (FDU) party. The government claims that Ingabire wants to reignite ethnic tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi. Presidential elections are scheduled for August 2010.

May 29, 2010: Fights broke out in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, between the opposition National Liberation Forces (FNL) and government security forces. Around 50 protestors were arrested. The FNL claims this past week's elections were fraudulent. Street battles and opposition demands for a new election are not unique to Burundi. The same thing occurred in Sudan in April and in Ethiopia this month. Even comparatively stable Kenya had a violent post-election period after its 2007 national elections. Many Africans think elections are just a sham, run on behalf of the governing party. That noted, the idea of democracy is powerful, and Burundi is an example of that. Observers estimated that around 90 percent of Burundi's 3.5 million eligible voters cast ballots in the election. Ninety percent. Huge. People want the right to vote; they also want it to mean something.

May 28, 2010: Burundi's election bureau announced that the ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy Party (NCDD-FDDP), had won over 60 percent of the vote in elections which were held May 24. A group of European Union election observers praised the election and said it met international standards. Voters elected representatives to local council governments throughout the country.

May 25, 2010: Re-run time? A group of eight Burundian opposition parties is demanding that the Burundian election held on May 24 be held again –as in an entirely new election. The opposition parties claim the government cheated and are promising to challenge the results. Before the election, disaffected groups within the parties, including the so-called youth wings, threatened street violence if the elections were tainted. The big worry is that the young wings will be the seeds of a new armed guerrilla movement.

May 24, 2010: Rwanda and Uganda have both announced that they intend to pursue closer relations. The two countries have often been at odds, at one time or another providing safe haven for the other nation's rebel groups.

May 14, 2010: Demonstrators in Bujumbura, Burundi, fought with security forces. The demonstrators were protesting the murder of an opposition activist by gunmen. The shooting occurred in early May. The protestors claim government-backed assassins committed the slaying. The murdered activist belonged to the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy.

May 11, 2010: A Rwandan court has decided to postpone once again a hearing on the status of former Congolese Tutsi rebel leader, General Luarent Nkunda. The court did confirm Nkunda's whereabouts-- he is still being held in Rwanda. Nkunda was arrested by Rwandan forces January 22, 2009 during a joint military operation conducted by Rwandan and Congolese military forces against rebel groups in the eastern Congo. Nkunda was head of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) and aspired to becoming a national leader in the Congo. His CNDP forces had conducted a successful series of operations against the Congolese Army in north Kivu province in 2008. A lawyer for Nkunda blames his extended detention on the Rwandan Army's current chief of staff, General James Kaberebe.

April 28, 2010: The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group in the eastern Congo denied that it had any links to Hutu opposition leader Victorie Ingabire or any Hutu opposition group involved in upcoming elections in Rwanda.





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