RPF officials out on bond pending probe

Sunday August 6 2017

RPF supporters. Three suspects are accused of

RPF supporters. Three suspects are accused of inciting sabotage against some presidential candidates or trying to prevent candidates from holding rallies at some sites. PHOTO FILE | NMG 

By RODRIGUES RWIRAHIRA
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Three officials of the Rwanda Patriotic Front arrested a fortnight ago for obstructing the campaign efforts of opposition candidates were last week released on bond, pending further investigations.

The National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) released the suspects on Tuesday in what it described as “provisional” release.

NPPA spokesperson Faustin Nkusi said the suspects will have to be reporting to the authority every week until investigations are complete.

Jeremie Sinamenye, the mayor of Rubavu District, a member of his staff, and Bertin Kagabo an executive secretary in Busanze sector in Nyaruguru District were taken into custody on July 20, after they obstructed the rally of independent candidate Phillippe Mpayimana in Rubavu district.

Mr Mpayimana was one of the two opposition candidates challenging incumbent President Paul Kagame in elections that were held on August 4. The Democratic Green Party’s Frank Habineza was the other contender.

Mr Mpayimana was only able to address a small group of supporters in Rubavu after many people were allegedly prevented from attending the rally by local leaders.

According to a police statement, similar incidents reported in the districts of Nyagatare and Kirehe, are under investigation.

The three suspects are accused of inciting sabotage against some presidential candidates or trying to prevent candidates from holding rallies at some sites.

Earlier, Assistant Commissioner of Police and police spokesman, Theos Badege had confirmed the arrest of the three suspects saying they were in police custody in their respective districts as investigations continue ahead of an arraignment in court.

According to the code of criminal procedure, once a case has been filed with the police, it takes about three working days for the case to be forwarded to prosecutors, who have another three working days to file the case in court.

According to officials from the National Electoral Commission, all candidates are equal and have equal rights before the law, and those rights have to be respected and upheld.

Mr Mpayimana is not the only candidate who alleged mistreatment and frustration during the campaigns. Mr Habineza of the Green Party had threatened not to return to some areas after he was stopped by some local leaders from staging rallies at his preferred venues.

“We asked to hold a rally in Nyagatare, but we were allocated the cemetery so we postponed the rally,” said Mr Habineza.

Mr Habineza further claimed that when he returned to Nyagatare, local leaders mobilised motorbike riders with ruling party flags to destabilise his rally, once again forcing him to abandon his campaigns in that area.