Court Bars Kagame Critic From Running In Rwanda’s Election

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A High Court in Rwanda has barred a prominent opposition politician and critic of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame from vying in the July presidential elections.

Bernard Ntaganda, 55, had asked the court to lift his convictions so he could qualify to run in the election.

Rwandan law forbids individuals who have been convicted for more than six months from holding public office.

The High Court declined Mr Ntaganda’s request on Tuesday, citing his failure to pay legal fees in the previous case.

“The High Court finds that Ntaganda did not abide by the laws that require individuals to request their conviction to be removed, and therefore rejects his appeal,” the court ruling said, according to AFP news agency.

Mr Ntaganda maintained he had paid the fees, adding that he was not surprised by the court’s decision.

Mr Ntaganda was arrested before Rwanda’s 2010 election, in which he planned to run.

He was freed in 2014 after serving time on charges including organising unauthorised demonstrations and threatening state security.

In March, a Rwandan court declined to lift a ban on Victoire Ingabire, another government critic, on vying in the election.

She was freed in 2018 after spending eight years in prison for threatening state security and “belittling” the 1994 genocide.