Connect with us

Politics

Rwanda frees jailed opposition leader Ingabire

Published

on

Rwanda on Saturday freed Victoire Ingabire, an opposition leader who has served six years of a 15 year jail term, after President Paul Kagame exercised his power to grant a pardon.

Ingabire, who leads the unregistered FDU-Inkingi opposition party, was freed along with other prisoners, including singer Kizito Mihigo, jailed in 2015 for plotting to kill Kagame.

She emerged from prison in a red dress, green jacket and a broad smile. Flanked by her lawyer Gatera Gashabana, she told waiting reporters that her release, together with the election of two opposition parliamentarians earlier this month, were positive signs.

“There is hope for the opening of the political space,” Ingabire said, thanking the president for granting her mercy.

“I would also ask him to release other political prisoners who remain here.”

Government officials downplayed the political significance of her release.

“There is nothing political about her release, there is nothing political about her imprisonment,” Justice Minister Johnston Businge told Reuters by telephone.

“The president has granted mercy, and under the constitution, he is allowed to do that,” he said.

Eight officials of the FDU-Inkingi, including Ingabire’s deputy, still remain in detention, Gashabana said.

Read also: Bobi Wine: Uganda’s pop star MP re-arrested at airport

Another opposition figure, Diane Rwigara, who tried to run against Kagame in a 2017 presidential election, is also in detention.

Rwigara was arrested with her mother last year, accused of inciting an insurrection and using forged documents. The pair are due to appear in court on Sept. 24.

Kagame, who won a third term last year, is lauded for Rwanda’s economic recovery after the 1994 genocide but critics say he has muzzled free media and dissenting voices.

Ingabire was handed a 15-year sentence in 2012 for conspiring to form an armed group to undermine the government and for seeking to minimize the 1994 genocide.

She had returned from exile in the Netherlands to contest a presidential election in January 2010, but was barred from standing after being accused of genocide denial.

Her lawyer welcomed the decision to free her but said it came with certain conditions.

“This is a conditional release,” Gashabana said. He said that Ingabire must report her place of residence to the prosecutor and seek authorization before leaving the country.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

African leaders seek change in fight against terrorism at Nigerian summit   

Published

on

At a security summit in Nigeria, African leaders have called for a revamp of institutions that fight violent extremism on the continent.

The leaders also began to push to set up a standing military force and give the government more power over efforts to keep the peace.

Attacks on citizens and the military have been happening all the time in Africa, including in the Sahel, Somalia, and Mozambique, by groups with ties to Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo said that coastal states like Togo were facing more threats, even though people were being attacked the most in the Sahel.

“I say this with prudence and regret, but I think the institutions that have been in place for several decades are no longer able to respond to the security situation that we face,” said Gnassingbe.

Moussa Faki, chairman of the African Union Commission, reported that between 2017 and 2021, there were four attacks and 18 deaths a day in Africa. Last year, there were eight attacks and 44 deaths a day.

The AU chief added that last year 7,000 citizens and 4,000 military members were killed stressing that the situation was being used in some countries as a reason for military coups. The Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, said that half of all terrorist deaths happened in the Sahel.

Until a military coup in July that called for France to leave, Niger was the West’s last major ally in the central Sahel area south of the Sahara Desert. In July, France pulled out 1,500 troops from Niger.

Faki said that Africa needed more money to help stop the spread of terrorism. Bola Tinubu, the president of Nigeria, said that more needed to be done to stop the spread of small guns and weapons. He also called for the creation of a regional standby force whose job it would be to fight terrorism.

“I am mindful of the funding, legal and logistical complexities that face the proper establishment of such a force. Such a force can stand as a strong deterrent to large scale and protracted terrorist operations and the capture, occupation or disruption of strategic land and resources,” Tinubu said.

Continue Reading

Politics

Togo’s civil society, opposition plan mass protests following constitutional review

Published

on

Some of Togo’s opposition parties and civil society groups have called for mass protests again on Saturday following lawmakers’ approved changes to the country’s constitution a week ago.

The legislation is widely believed to enhance the continued stay of President Faure Gnassingbe in power after 19-year rule. The opposition group Dynamique Pour la Majorité du Peuple (DMP) and other signatories said in a statement that the changes to presidential term limits and how presidents are chosen were just a political move to let Gnassingbe stay in office forever.

“What happened at the National Assembly yesterday is a coup d’etat,” they said in the statement that reiterated calls for the population to mobilise against the changes.

“Large-scale action will be organised over the next few days to say ‘no’ to this constitution,” they said. In Friday’s vote, lawmakers unanimously approved an amended charter under which the president will no longer be elected by universal suffrage, but by members of parliament.

The amendments also set up a parliamentary system of government and cut presidential terms from five years to four years, with a maximum of two terms. Since the changes don’t consider time already spent in office, Gnassingbe could stay in power until 2033 if he is re-elected in 2025. This is very likely because his party controls the parliament in Togo, where his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, took power in a coup in 1967.

The most valuable company in Abu Dhabi has made an offer of more than $1 billion to buy a 51% stake in Vedanta Resources’ copper assets in Zambia, according to two people who know about the situation.

In the past few years, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, the Congo Republic, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea are just a few of the African countries that have changed their constitutions and other laws to allow leaders to serve longer terms.

In the last three years, there have been eight military coups in West and Central Africa as well. As they were during his father’s long rule, violent police crackdowns on political protests have been common in Togo under Gnassingbe, who was returned in a landslide in 2020 that the opposition says was rigged.

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Metro19 mins ago

Sign language interpreter, Kunda, seeks inclusivity in media rights agenda (video)

An inclusive society is crucial for a nation’s human and economic development in the modern era. In this edition of...

Metro3 hours ago

Educationist challenges media freedom norms, cautions against misuse of freedom of expression

Geshom Banda, Deputy Head Teacher at Hillside Primary School, presents a contrasting perspective amidst discussions on media freedom and digital...

Metro5 hours ago

Nigerian govt shuts Chinese supermarket over ‘no-Nigerian shopper’ allegation

Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has shut down a Chinese store in Abuja, the country’s capital, because it...

Metro8 hours ago

Nigeria: President Tinubu identifies illegal mining as source of terrorism financing

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has identified illegal mining activities as a major source of terrorism financing in the country and...

VenturesNow9 hours ago

Nigeria wants $2.25 billion World Bank loan

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Wale Edun, has revealed that the country is seeking up to $2.25 billion in World Bank loans...

Video10 hours ago

‘Complex, contentious,’ media enthusiast says media rights often depend on goodwill of political leadership (video)

Kitwe Press Club spokesperson, Michael Kaluba, has described the media landscape in Zambia as complex and contentious. In a conversation...

Tech22 hours ago

UN signs MoU with Kenya’s Konza Technopolis

The United Nations has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenya’s Konza Technopolis that will provide a wide range...

Culture22 hours ago

Ghana mourns as top gospel music icon Koda passes away

The Ghanaian entertainment industry has, once again, been thrown into mourning following the death of renowned gospel musician, Kofi Owusu...

Sports22 hours ago

South African club admits they can’t keep Nwabali

Chairman of South African club side, Chippa United, Siviwe ‘Chippa’ Mpengesi, has given up on retaining the services of Super...

Metro22 hours ago

Chinsali youth advocates broadening of access to information to impact rural areas

Joseph Mulenga, a 24-year-old carpenter from Chinsali District in Muchinga Province, has spoken on the necessity of broadening access to...

Trending