Rwanda’s presidential elections will take place on August 9, 2010, in a context marked by increasing political repression and a crackdown on free speech.
Over the last six months, Human Rights Watch has documented a worrying pattern of intimidation, harassment and other abuses – ranging from killings and arrests to restrictive administrative measures – against opposition parties, journalists, members of civil society and other critics.
There are four candidates in the elections: the incumbent president, Paul Kagame (Rwandan Patriotic Front, RPF); Jean-Damascène Ntawukuriryayo (Parti Social Démocrate); Prosper Higiro (Parti Libéral); and Alivera Mukabaramba (Parti du Progrès et de la Concorde).
None of the other candidates are believed to pose a serious challenge to President Kagame. Their parties have been broadly supportive of the RPF, and most Rwandans would not describe them as “real” opposition parties.