Monday, July 12, 2010

KPFA News: election observers in Africa, 2010

Text of what Rwandan American lawyer, former RPF member, and former Makerere University professor Charles Kambanda said about the US and UK's "election observers" on their way to Rwanda for the August 9th polls:

"When we talk about a free and fair election, we are not talking about the election day. We are not talking about a few hours after the election or before the election. We are looking at the entire social political environment before, during, and after elections. Anyone who has been observing events in Rwanda knows that it is impossible to have free and fair elections, so why do people seriously think of going there to observe elections? Which elections are they going to observe? There is nothing to be observed because what we have is a one man show. What we have is a situation where they have created the so-called opposition. RPF has kicked out all the potential political opposition leaders; they are either in prison, or, they are already dead, or in exile."

Rwandan exile, writer, blogger, and activist Aimable Mugara, on election observers in Rwanda, as quoted in Digital Journal and the San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper:

“Rwanda’s electoral commission has certified only four candidates,” says Aimable Mugara, a Rwandan exile, writer, blogger and activist now living in Ottawa, Canada, who survived Rwanda’s 1994 massacres. “The candidates are Gen. Kagame and three of his political friends, who have never ever criticized the ruling party for anything. This means that the people of Rwanda have no choice whatsoever. No choice means no election."

“Therefore, foreign election observers planning to go to Rwanda to observe the ‘election’ this August are wasting time and money. I would recommend that they stay in their countries and write their reports based on all the insane actions Gen. Kagame’s ruling party has taken since the beginning of this year, actions that make this so-called election null and void.”

I'm now collecting quotations, what Rwandans in country and out, have to say about these "election observers" from the US and the UK, a.k.a., in this case, the Commonwealth, though I know that most Rwandans in country are less than free to speak their own minds. 

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and the FDU-Inkingi Party are urging Rwandans to boycott the August 9th elections as the US and UK, a.k.a., Commonwealth, prepare to send "observers." 

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