Rwanda turns heat on media

By WALTER MENYA
Posted Saturday, May 8 2010 at 17:30

Rwanda’s government is blaming the international media for creating hype about the forthcoming presidential elections.

Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo on Saturday told the Press in Nairobi that talks of an election crisis and crackdown on opposition candidates was a creation of the western media.

She was on her way to Kigali from the World Economic Forum that ended in Dar es Salaam on Friday.

“International media like to create their own things and portray African elections as occasions for rigging and violence,” Ms Mushikiwabo said, adding: “Domestically, there is no hype. There are no prospects for violence and we are confident the elections will go on well.”

Rwanda goes to the polls in early August to elect the president. Current head of state and the man widely credited for ending the genocide, President Paul Kagame, is seeking a second seven-year term.

But Kagame’s administration has been under the spotlight following the arrest of opposition leader Victoire Ingabire and the suspension of two newspapers — Umuseso and Umuvigizi.

Ms Ingabire who was living in the Netherlands since 1994 came back to contest the presidency but has been in and out of courts accused of propagating the genocide ideology.

Ms Mushikiwabo dismissed as falsehoods the alleged harassment of the media and opposition figures.

“Because of our history 16 years ago, a lot of people are expecting violence but people have to scratch below the surface to understand what has been going on,” the minister stated.

Read more: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/Rwanda%20turns%20heat%20on%20media%20/-/1066/914608/-/b7ht98/-/

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