News24

Rwanda: Green chief hopes to register party

2012-09-18 14:46

Kigali - The leader of Rwanda's Democratic Green Party, who returned from exile earlier this month, said on Tuesday he hoped to register his party in time for the September 2013 parliamentary elections.

Habineza left Rwanda for Sweden two years ago after his party failed to get permission to register for the 2010 presidential poll and after his deputy was found decapitated weeks before the vote.

"I had to go because my party was not legal ... my partners were demoralised, very scared, so it was not a good time for continuing politics", Habineza told AFP in an interview.

He said he hoped to get the green light from the government to organise a party congress - a mandatory step in the procedure to register a party - on November 16.

He hopes to have registered his party by the end of December.

The last party congress organised by the Greens in October 2009 was broken up by a man Habineza identified at the time on the party website as "an ex-soldier and a former employee of military intelligence," along with three accomplices. He said the incident was "a well planned sabotage done by security operatives."

Habineza on Tuesday however told AFP he "doesn't know" who broke up the 2009 congress.

After the 2009 congress was disrupted, the government refused to allow the party, created earlier that year by former members of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, to hold a further meeting, he told AFP.

In July 2010 Habineza's deputy Andre Kagwa Rwisereka disappeared in the south of the country. His decapitated body was found the next day. Two days later a man was arrested on suspicion of his murder, only to be released five days later after the start of the presidential election campaigns.

Habineza says he wants to look to the future and that if he manages to register the Green Party he "cannot fail" to get a seat in parliament.