Kagame’s female challenger faces exclusion from Rwanda’s presidential race

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 – Ismail Akwei

Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) has rejected the candidacy of 35-year-old Diane Shima Rwigara for not meeting filing requirements.

She and four other candidates fell short of required number of signatures, NEC Chairman, Kalisa Mbanda told journalists on Tuesday.

The independent presidential aspirants, who are required to present 600 signatures each from all the 30 districts, have until Sunday to provide the remainder.

“We verified the signatures and the independent candidates fell short of the required number in all districts. They have five days to bring the missing elements in their files. They are both missing signatures from all districts,” said Kalisa Mbanda.

We verified the signatures and the independent candidates fell short of the required number in all districts. They have five days to bring the missing elements in their files. They are both missing signatures from all districts.

Incumbent President Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and main opposition leader Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda were confirmed by the NEC.

Diane Shima Rwigara submitted her nomination to the NEC last Tuesday amid complaints of intimidation against her supporters.

She is required to provide at least 12 signatures from each of the 30 districts in Rwanda.

Diane Shima Rwigara is the daughter of businessman Assinapol Rwigara, who was pivotal in the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front.

She distanced herself from the party after her father’s death in 2015 in a road accident which she claims was an assassination.

President Kagame filed his nomination last week to contest for a third term as president. He was unanimously nominated by his party in June.

Electoral campaigns will start on July 7, followed by the elections on August 3 in the diaspora and August 4 in Rwanda.