BY Ismail Akwei, 12:06pm August 27, 2018,

Why the only two Rwandan women who tried to run for president against Kagame ended up in jail

The only two women to challenge Rwanda's Kagame

It isn’t all rosy in Rwanda, an East African country described as one of the fastest growing economies in the continent and an emerging African powerhouse led by a former military leader who is credited for ending the dreaded genocide of 1994.

Paul Kagame led a Tutsi-backed and heavily armed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) to take control of the country after an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis were mass slaughtered by members of the Hutu majority government.

Kagame was considered the defacto leader from 1994 to 2000 when he served as Vice President and Minister of Defence. He assumed the presidency in 2000 when President Bizimungu resigned and has since been the president without any fierce opposition.

Women have had slim chances of getting to the top in Rwanda’s political hierarchy as the only woman to ever rise to the topmost position was Agathe Uwilingiyimana who was Prime Minister of Rwanda in 1993. She was assassinated on April 7, 1994, by the presidential guard 14 hours after the assassination of President Habyarimana which commenced the genocide.

Two decades later, two Rwandan women have attempted to run against President Paul Kagame but ended up in jail for various reasons which they claim to be politically motivated.

Read more about them below.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: August 27, 2018


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