Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has returned to the country after more than 100 days in the United Kingdom, where he received treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

The presidential jet that brought him touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, where he was received by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, some state governors, police boss Ibrahim Idris and his chief of staff Abba Kyari.

The governors at the airport included Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Muhammed Abubakar of Bauchi, Abubakar Bello of Niger, Neysom Wike of Rivers, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State

The president is expected to speak to “Nigerians in a broadcast by 7 am on Monday, August 21, 2017,” his media adviser Femi Adesina said in a statement on Saturday.

The president left Nigeria on May 7 for London for a second of treatment for an undisclosed ailment, transferring power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lead the most populous African country.

He had earlier left Nigeria on January 19 for London to “undergo routine medical check-ups” during a short holiday. He only returned on March 10 after an extended period of medical treatment.

He tacitly acknowledged that he was very ill, telling his cabinet members that “I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man.” He also said he had “blood transfusions, going to the laboratories and so on and so forth”.

His absence in Nigeria since May 7 has birthed rounds of protests and calls for him to resign. But much like his aides, Buhari has consistently said he would only return to Nigeria on the instruction of his doctors.

Published in Headliners

ABOUT six persons were said to have been feared dead when pro-President Muhammadu Buhari attacked a group known as Our Mumu Don Do led by Charles Oputa, popularly referred to as Charley Boy.

The incident, according to an eyewitness, happened when Charley Boy was about leading other protesters with various placards to Wuse Market in Abuja, on Tuesday, as continuation of their protest calling President Buhari to either resume and continue from where he stopped or resign if his health condition could not cope anymore.

It will be recalled that the protesters under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Organisation began their protest penultimate Monday in Abuja, against the long vacation of President Buhari in London hospital.

Investigations by the Tribune Online however revealed that their decision to stage a protest inside the market, on Tuesday, was rebuffed vehemently by pro-Buhari who had earlier warned the former to go back to Unity Fountain, Maitaima to continue their protest.

Eyewitnesses further stated that one of the executive members of the Wuse Market Association came out to persuade Charley Boy and other protesters to leave with a view to allowing peace to reign, having realised that the youths within the market have been mobilising themselves.

According to one of the witnesses, “the chairman of the market came out to persuade him to go but he insisted that he will protest inside the market and as they were arguing, the pro-Buhari descended on him and his members, destroying his BMW sport car with woods and stones.”

Conflicting reports however said about six persons were feared dead from both parties, while others said four people were killed as different weapons were freely used before the arrival of combined security operatives.

Unformed report further said Charley Boy and four others who sustained serious injuries have been rushed to undisclosed hospital for medical attention.

The market has since been closed down to forestall escalation of the civil unrest.

Published in News & Stories

Lecturers action unnecessary, says Presidency

The Federal Government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday presented different views on a parley involving both parties over the strike by university teachers.

While the Federal Government said significant steps were taken at the meeting towards the resolution of the issues raised by ASUU, the President of the union, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said it was a “mere consultation.”

He said, “We have not yet had a formal meeting (with government); we are still making consultation. Don’t worry; I will get back to you when there is information. But there is no information for now.”

But the Director of Press, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday said the Minister of Labour and Employment,  Senator Chris Ngige, led government to the meeting on behalf of the government.

He said the meeting held took significant steps towards the resolution of the issues raised by ASUU.

Olowookere said the meeting agreed on the forensic audit of N30bn earlier given to ASUU in 2010 and further agreed on monthly remittances to ASUU while the audit lasts.

He said, “The Minister hence wishes to assure members of ASUU, and indeed all Nigerians that government is already at work   to resolve all outstanding issues in line with the resolve of the present administration to cast any form of disruption of universities’ academic calendar into the dustbin of history.  The meeting continues on Thursday August 17, 2017.”

ASUU strike unnecessary, says Presidency

The Presidency on Tuesday described the industrial action declared by ASUU on Monday as “totally unnecessary.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an interview on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily.

Shehu said the union leaders were aware of the fact that the Muhammadu Buhari administration inherited the agreements based on which the industrial action was declared.

He said they were also aware that the Federal Government had set up a committee on the matter.

The presidential spokesman regretted that while the union leaders were expected to sit down and negotiate with the committee, they resorted to a strike.

He gave an indication that the government might not be able to meet the huge financial obligation the striking university teachers were asking for since the N850bn debt was more than the total allocation to the Ministry of Education in the 2017 Budget which he put at N369bn.

Shehu said, “Governments enter into agreements that they can pay for. Ability to pay is a key requirement in going into agreements.

“Since President Buhari assumed office, he has sent words out there in form of a warning to all government institutions that they should not go into negotiations and agreements that they cannot pay for; but get clearance.

“I understand that they are talking about debts owed their members to the tune of N850bn. If I am correct, the entire appropriation for the Ministry of Education for this year is N369bn. So where do they want us to get the money from?

“We have inherited these agreements and we are not running away from them. Government has set up a committee led by (Dr Wale) Babalakin. They are already sitting. Why didn’t they sit down and negotiate?

“This strike is totally unnecessary. The issues can be resolved, especially where we have full understanding of where we are coming from. The governments that signed those agreements did not deem it fit to implement because the capacity was not there.

“If they are ready, they can sit down and discuss with the committee that has capable and qualified people as members.”

Shehu said the university teachers opted to go on strike because they expected that all their problems should be solved with a wave of hand.

“They want all the problems to go with a wave of the hand. They want all the answers to all their problems at a go. There is an avenue that the government has opened for them for dialogue and it is not closed yet,” the presidential spokesman said.

Poly lecturers threaten sympathy strike

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics on Tuesday said it supported the strike embarked upon by ASUU.

The union in a statement by its Secretary General, Anderson Ezeibe, noted that the strike was aimed at restoring sanity to Nigerian universities and the education sector.

It also urged government to commence the implementation of agreements entered into with ASUP to forestall an impending crisis in polytechnics.

The union lamented that it had become a norm for government to renege on agreements entered into with trade unions, particularly in the education sector.

It said failure of government to implement agreements   frustrated unions and left them with no choice but to go on strike.

The group said that it was concerned about the consequences of the strike on students, parents and society at large.

It urged government to address the issue of shortfall in personnel releases in federal institutions since December 2015, non-payment of salaries in state polytechnics, non-implementation of Needs Assessment report and non-payment of allowances.

“ASUP notes the renewal of hostilities on the country’s university campuses between ASUU and government of Nigeria.

 “While we are in unconditional solidarity with ASUU in this struggle to restore sanity to Nigerian universities, we are calling on the government to commence without further delay the implementation of agreements entered into with ASUP to forestall an impending crisis in the polytechnic sub-sector.”

Published in Headliners

MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho says he is "keeping his feet on the ground" despite watching his Manchester United team thrash West Ham on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Two goals from new £75 million striker Romelu Lukaku helped United to a 4-0 win at Old Trafford which left Mourinho's side top of the table.

It was United's biggest opening-day win since beating Fulham 5-1 at Old Trafford in 2006 and Mourinho's biggest league win as Red Devils manager. United went on to win the title in the 2006-07 season, ending a four-year drought under Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Mourinho, though, insists he is not getting carried away.

"We finished the [last] season winning the Europa League and qualifying for Champions League," he told a news conference. "We start the second season with a very good performance at home. We had many players on the pitch with a very good game. We have reasons to be optimistic.

"For me, years and years of experience and experience in the Premier League, my feet are on the ground and I am calm. Last season we were also top of the league in the first match and we finished sixth so this means nothing. It just means we played well and confidence levels will be high and now our challenge is to keep this confidence level."

There were plenty of positives for the United manager. Lukaku scored twice on his league debut for the club following his move from Everton, while Nemanja Matic, a £35m buy from Chelsea, ran the midfield in a manner that made it hard to believe he spent most of the summer training alone at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley 24 hours earlier made Matic's performance even more noteworthy.

Mourinho said afterwards he had wanted Matic, who was named Man of the Match, at Old Trafford last season.

Manchester United eased to victory against West Ham.

He added: "It depends on what is happening or what was happening behind doors and we don't know.

"The only thing I know is that of course with Chelsea money I brought him to Stamford Bridge because I thought he was a player with special qualities, and since I left I always thought he could be a perfect player for us, but I didn't disturb him, I didn't disturb Chelsea.

"I never thought it was possible unless something special was happening and his agent told me we could have him and we were very happy with that. We have him and we are very happy. He was a player this team needs."

West Ham were one of the 10 teams who got a point at Old Trafford last season, a statistic that cost United any chance of challenging Chelsea for the title.

In the 1-1 draw in November, United had eight shots on target but only scored once, while six on target this time produced four goals.

Lukaku has scored more goals against West Ham than any other team and took his tally to 11 in 13 games with a double.

Mourinho said: "Romelu scored in the Super Cup, scored twice today, he's playing well and he's working hard. He likes the team and the team likes him. Strikers can play phenomenally well, but if they don't score goals, the pressure's on them.

"So I think it was good for him to score and for all the guys arriving at new clubs who scored goals on their first games. It's always oxygen, it's happiness and confidence for them.

"Romelu knows we well. He knows sometimes strikers can play well but not score, but from me there will be no pressure. But today was very good and he was very effective, with the first goal especially."

Published in Sports

Official photos from the presentation ceremony of Ambassador Lilian Onoh at State House Namibia.

Lilian Onoh 1

Lilian Onoh 6

Lilian Onoh 5

Lilian Onoh 4

Lilian Onoh 3

Lilian Onoh 2

Lilian Onoh 1

Courtesy: Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu Facebook page

Published in News & Stories

 

A woman carrying her baby walks through the temporary shelters provided by the Mission for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in one of the hosting communities in Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria on December 7, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
The UN has been providing aid to those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency

Nigeria's security forces have raided a UN camp in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri and carried out an unauthorised search, a UN official has told the BBC.

Samantha Newport, of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), says the search lasted nearly three hours.

The UN is urgently seeking answers from the authorities.

The base provides aid to those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Lagos says one possible reason for the search could be the camp's name - Red Roof.

Rumours have been swirling in Maiduguri that the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has been hiding out in a compound with the same name.

map

Edward Kallon, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria has expressed grave concern following the search.

Mr Kallon says that he is extremely concerned that the actions by the security forces could be "detrimental to the critical work that is being carried out every day to support the most vulnerable in the region".

The UN ordered local staff to work from home today following the incident.

It also said it grounded helicopters - which provide humanitarian assistance to far - flung camps - as a precautionary measure.

Published in Business and Economy

*N234m, $5m in bank accounts
*Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt houses listed

SOME OF THE ASSETS:
A block of six units serviced apartments at 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos
21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments of three-bedrooms each and six three-bedroom (all en-suite) terrace apartments in Yaba
A twin four-bedroom duplex at Lekki Phase one, Lagos
A large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos
A duplex at 10, Frederick Chiluba Close in Asokoro, Abuja
A six-bedroom en-suite apartment on Aso Drive, Maitama, Abuja
16 four-bedroom terrace duplexes at No. Heritage Court Estate, Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Phase 1 Extension, Port Harcourt.

 

A massive investigation has revealed former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke’s love for property.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has so far traced N47.2 billion and $487.5million to the ex-minister.

The agency also claimed that Mrs. Alison Madueke has N23,446,300,000 and $5milion (about N1.5billion) cash in various banks.

But only the about $37.5million Banana Island property has been forfeited to the Federal Government by the ex-minister.

On Monday , Justice Chuka Obiozor, a vacation judge sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the final forfeiture of the property.

These revelations were contained in a fact-sheet released by the Public Affairs Directorate of the EFCC.

The fact-sheet is signed by two officers of the directorate, Mr. Tony Orilade and Aishah Gambari.

The document reads: “Apart from the jewellery, the EFCC, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption agency, has traced N47.2billion and $487.5million in cash and properties to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources in ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

“This followed painstaking investigations by operatives of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”

In the fact-sheet, the EFCC gave the details of the properties linked with the ex-minister.

It accused Mrs. Alison Madueke of acquiring a block of six units serviced apartments a few metres away from the EFCC zonal operations hub in Ikoyi.

The document added: “Also in Lagos, Alison-Madueke allegedly bought a block of six units serviced apartments at number 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, just a few hundred metres away from the EFCC zonal operations hub.

“The apartment has a standby power generating set, sporting facilities, play ground and a water treatment plant. The property was bought at the rate of N800 million (Eight hundred million naira) on January 6, 2012.

“Other properties in Yaba, Lagos, also discovered by the eagle eyes of the Commission’s operatives, are located at number 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street. The Thurnburn Street property consists of 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments of three bedrooms each and six three-bedroom (all en-suite) terrace apartments.

“The Raymond Street property is made up of two en-suite 2-bedroom apartments and one four bedroom apartment.

“The Yaba, Lagos properties, which dug a deep hole of an eye-popping N1billion (One billion naira), were paid for on May 30, 2012. The same day Alison-Madueke splashed N900 million for the Port Harcourt estate.

“In Lekki Phase one, an upscale neighbourhood of Lagos, operatives found a twin four-bedroom duplex. The duplex is located on Plot 33, Block 112, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme Phase 1, Lekki, Lagos, with an estimated value of over N200million (Two hundred million naira).

“Also in Lagos, a large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos has also been traced to the former Petroleum Resources Minister. The land, which is located in Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki peninsular, Lagos and currently being utilised as a dumping site, was bought on February 16, 2012 for N135million (One hundred and thirty- five million naira).

“Plot 8, Gerard Road Ikoyi, Lagos, another property traced to Alison-Madueke, is a penthouse on the 11th floor in the Block B Wing of the building. It was bought for N12million (Twelve million naira) on December 20, 2011.”

Besides the properties in Lagos, the commission claimed that Mrs. Alison Madueke allegedly bought choice mansions in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Yenagoa in Bayelsa State.

It said: “On Plot 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, in the serene, upscale Asokoro District of Abuja, lies a tastefully built and finished duplex. In the compound, there are also a guest chalet, boy’s quarters, an elegant swimming pool, fully equipped sports gym and a host of other amenities.

“ Investigators have discovered that the property acquired by the ex-minister in December, 2009, at the cost of N400 million (Four hundred million naira) was never declared in any of the asset declaration forms filed by Alison-Madueke.

“Also linked to the former Minister in Abuja is a mini-estate at Mabushi, Abuja. The estate, located on Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi Gardens Estate, houses 13 three-bedroom terrace houses, each with one bedroom en-suite maid’s quarters. It was purchased on April 2, 2012 at the princely sum of N650million (Six Hundred and Fifty Million Naira).

“In Aso Drive, Maitama, Abuja, Alison-Madueke reportedly acquired a six bedroom en-suite apartment made up of three large living rooms, two bedroom guest chalets, two-bedroom boys quarters, two lock up garages and a car park. It was bought on July 20, 2011 for N80million (Eighty million naira).

“Down South in Nigeria’s oil city of Port Harcourt, the former minister’s acquisitive appetite took her to Heritage Court Estate, located on Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu Government Residential Area, Phase 1 Extension, Port Harcourt.

“The Estate, which is made up of 16 four-bedroom terrace duplexes, is equipped with, among other facilities, a massive standby power generating set. Alison-Madueke did not blink as she shelled out N900million (Nine hundred million naira) for it on May 30, 2012.

“In neighbouring Bayelsa State, an apartment with two blocks of flats, all en-suite, and with a maid’s quarters was also traced to her. The house located on Goodluck Jonathan Road, Yenagoa is sitting on a large expanse of land.

“Realtors spoken to by EFCC investigators have placed estimated values running into hundreds of millions of Naira on the property. The apartments have four living rooms, eight bedrooms and gold-plated furniture.”

Besides jewelry and property, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, EFCC operatives claim, has N23,446,300,000 and $5milion (about N1.5billion) in various Nigerian banks.

Published in Business and Economy
 

The Super Eagles forward has signed a five-year deal at the King Power Stadium and becomes Craig Shakespeare’s fourth signing ahead of the new season.

LEICESTER CITY ended this summer’s longest-running transfer saga when Kelechi Iheanacho finally completed his £25million move from Manchester City.

Foxes boss Craig Shakespeare’s dogged pursuit of the 20-year-old Nigerian strike sensation eventually paid off after his top summer signing target put pen-to-paper on a five-year-deal.

Kelechi Iheanacho completed his £25m move to LeicesterKelechi Iheanacho completed his £25m move to Leicester

 

Kelechi Iheanacho signed a five-year deal with Leicester

Kelechi Iheanacho signed a five-year deal with Leicester

Leicester were always confident they were in pole position to land the lethal finisher, who has scored 21 times in 64 appearances for City.

But complex issues over the player’s image rights and a court case involving a former agent caused the move to drag on throughout the summer.

Now Iheanacho says he can’t wait to show what he can do in a Leicester shirt, with a speedy home debut in Friday’s friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach on the cards.

Iheanacho told LCFC TV: “It feels good to be part of this team. I know the ambition here and I know what I need to do to help the team achieve what they want.

“After speaking with the manager I was convinced and happy to be here. It gives me more confidence that I will fit in this team and hopefully I’ll achieve a lot.” 

Iheanacho’s goal-scoring credentials are impeccable and he is the supreme penalty box poacher Shakespeare wanted to compliment Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton.

Kelechi Iheanacho in the Leicester changing room after completing his £25m move

Kelechi Iheanacho in the Leicester changing room after completing his £25m move

Kelechi Iheanacho became Leicester's fourth summer signing

Kelechi Iheanacho became Leicester’s fourth summer signing

Kelechi Iheanacho is put through his paces after arriving at Leicester

Kelechi Iheanacho is put through his paces after arriving at Leicester
Published in Sports
Thursday, 03 August 2017 14:16

I intend to soar in Russia- Mikel Obi

Ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup slated for Russia, Nigeria’s Mikel Obi has told fifa.com that he would leave no stone unturned.
Mikel, stated: “I am glad with what I have done,” he said. “But at the same time, I am not satisfied. I want to achieve more, so I must push harder.

The next World Cup in Russia will be a fresh chance for us but, first, we have to make it there. Then the next challenge will be to make sure we enjoy an even better tournament in Russia than we did in Brazil.”
Mikel is also particular about making his Russian wife and in-laws proud at the quadrennial international football tournament scheduled for  14 June to 15 July 2018   in Russia:

He said:”My wife is Russian,” he said, “and many of our relatives and friends are from Russia. They are all expecting Nigeria to qualify for the next World Cup. I think they will kill me if I fail them,” he added, laughing.

He added: “We are in a very good position in our group,” the 30-year-old Tianjin Teda midfielder told FIFA.com. “We have two wins from two games, and in our last game we beat Algeria at home. We have a very good young team and the players play good football. If we can win our next match (at home to Cameroon on 31 August) it will edge us closer to qualification. I think we can go through.”

Published in Sports
 

In the eyes of some voters, Philippe Mpayimana, a fresh-faced former journalist running for president of Rwanda, is just a clown. Otherwise, they ask, why would he be running against longtime President Paul Kagame?

Some of Mpayimana's campaign venues are nearly empty of people, underscoring a widespread belief among Rwandans that Friday's election is just another coronation for Kagame, who won 93 percent of the votes in the last election.

In the tidy capital, Kigali, there is little hint of the coming vote.

Presidential candidates are barred from putting campaign posters in most public places, including schools and hospitals. The electoral commission vets candidates' campaign messages, warning that their social media accounts could be blocked otherwise.

FILE - Presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana speaks to a crowd in Rwanda.
FILE - Presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana speaks to a crowd in Rwanda.

"Some people here even don't know names of candidates running against Kagame," said Chris Munyaneza, a university lecturer who lives in Kigali. "People are not bothered."

"There is no excitement because people knew the winner a long time ago," said another Kigali resident who insisted on anonymity for his safety.

Kagame has been de facto leader or president of the East African nation of 12 million people since his rebels ended its 1994 genocide. While he remains popular for presiding over impressive economic growth, he inspires fear among some Rwandans who say he uses the powers of the state to remove perceived opponents.

Three potential candidates for Friday's election were disqualified by the electoral commission for allegedly failing to fulfil certain requirements, including collecting enough signatures. Two others — Mpayimana and Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda — were cleared to run.

The 59-year-old Kagame has already claimed victory, telling a rally in July that the winner of the election is already known: "The day of the presidential elections will just be a formality." He pointed to a constitutional amendment after a referendum in 2015 that allows him to stay in power until 2034.

'Climate of fear'

Ahead of the polls, tension has been growing following the mass retirement of over 800 army officers — rare before an election — and the reported arrest of at least four senior officers. The arrests include a man related to the late Col. Patrick Karegeya, a former intelligence chief who became a prominent dissident but was found dead in January 2014, apparently strangled, in South Africa.

FILE - Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame gives a speech during a campaign rally, July 31, 2017 in Gakenke, Rwanda, ahead of August 4 presidential election.
FILE - Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame gives a speech during a campaign rally, July 31, 2017 in Gakenke, Rwanda, ahead of August 4 presidential election.

Karegeya's widow, who now lives in the United States, said of Kagame: "I think he is a man with an endless hatred, even to those he has put in the grave like my husband." Leah Karegeya said six family members, including her sister Goretti Kabuto, are in detention in Rwanda because of their ties to her late husband.

Two decades of often deadly attacks on political opponents, journalists and rights activists have created a "climate of fear" ahead of Rwanda's election, Amnesty International said in a report last month.

"There are many unknown prisons in this country, and many people have vanished and died there," said one supporter of opposition candidate Habineza, Charlotte Umutesi. "My brother disappeared for a long time and we didn't find him until much later. We need a change before it is too late."

'Visionary' leader

Rwandan authorities, including Kagame, deny critics' claims that the government targets dissidents for assassination or disappearances.

Others insist the president has widespread support. Eric Ndushabandi, a professor of political science at the National University of Rwanda, said many admire Kagame as a "visionary" leader who united a country scarred by the 1994 genocide, in which over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by Hutu extremists.

"People are influenced by the traumatic situation of the genocide and conflictual politics in the past and no one is ready to go back," Ndushabandi said.

Meanwhile, opposition rallies often flop, apparently because some people are afraid to be seen associating with the president's opponents.

FILE - Presidential candidate Frank Habineza of the opposition Democratic Green Party gestures to supporters at an election campaign rally in Musanze District, Rwanda, July 28, 2017.
FILE - Presidential candidate Frank Habineza of the opposition Democratic Green Party gestures to supporters at an election campaign rally in Musanze District, Rwanda, July 28, 2017.

In the southeastern town of Nyamata, where independent candidate Mpayimana held his first campaign rally, only about 15 people — most of them children — attended. Police last week arrested the mayor of the western district of Rubavu, Jeremie Sinamenye, over allegations that he and some of his staff prevented voters from attending Mpayimana's rallies.

The other candidate running against Kagame, Habineza, called his campaign an act of "hope" despite the obvious risks. The organizing secretary of Habineza's party went missing two years ago and remains unaccounted for. The body of his deputy, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, was discovered in 2010 with a severed head in the southern town of Butare.

That killing followed the shooting death of newspaper journalist Jean-Leonard Rugambage, whose tabloid had been suspended by Rwandan authorities.

"Running against President Kagame comes with courage," Habineza said.

Published in Business and Economy
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