Rwandan President Accused Of Crushing Dissent As Rwanda prepares for presidential elections, members of the opposition have accused President Paul Kagame's government of crushing dissent and attacking dissident politicians and journalists. Robert Siegel talks to BBC reporter Geoffrey Mutagoma about the political fallout from the charges.
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Rwandan President Accused Of Crushing Dissent

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Rwandan President Accused Of Crushing Dissent

Rwandan President Accused Of Crushing Dissent

Rwandan President Accused Of Crushing Dissent

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128699943/128700067" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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As Rwanda prepares for presidential elections, members of the opposition have accused President Paul Kagame's government of crushing dissent and attacking dissident politicians and journalists. Robert Siegel talks to BBC reporter Geoffrey Mutagoma about the political fallout from the charges.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

And, Geoffrey Mutagoma, first, what exactly are members of the opposition saying about President Kagame?

GEOFFREY MUTAGOMA: I hasten to add though that there are some other parties such as the Liberal Party, such as the Social Democratic Party, which have been registered and are going to run in this August presidential elections.

SIEGEL: But beyond denying registration to opposition parties, have critics of the Kagame government been arrested or been threatened?

MUTAGOMA: There are some who have been arrested, but along the lines of breaking the law. For example, if you look at the Social Party Imberakuri founder and chairman, he was arrested because he was among the people who organized what the government termed as unlawful demonstration. So when they are being prosecuted, the government says they're being prosecuted for crimes that they committed under the Rwandan law and not because they're opposing the Kigali government.

SIEGEL: But recently, I believe, the body of a senior member of the Rwandan Green Party was found. He appeared to have been killed. Was that taken as evidence of political violence and assassination?

MUTAGOMA: I would be careful to attribute this to any political reasons because so far, the government is carrying on its investigation. Only a few days ago, the police announced that they had apprehended the first suspect. On the other hand, who knows? He could have been killed because of other reasons, as well. So I guess on this part, we'll have to wait for an investigation. But I would not rush to say there is government involvement in this.

SIEGEL: How would you describe the mood in the country today in Rwanda?

MUTAGOMA: To some extent, if you look at the way the turn-up has been, the Rwanda Patriotic Front has been getting a huge turnout, and the others have been getting smaller congregation compared to the RPF. So you might give some reason to that. But I would say, in conclusion, that the mood is good.

SIEGEL: Well, Geoffrey Mutagoma of the BBC, thank you very much for talking with us.

MUTAGOMA: Thank you.

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