Rwanda. At the September parliamentary elections, the
ruling party Rwanda's Patriotic Front (FPR) maintained its
strong grip on power. President Paul Kagame's party won 40
of the 53 directly elected seats in the Chamber of Deputies.
Two other parties supporting the government, the Social
Democratic Party (PSD) and the Liberal Party (PL), received
5 and 4 seats respectively. The only allowed opposition
party The Democratic Green Party got two seats, the party's
first. Two mandates trick the Social Party Imberakuri (PSI).
A further 27 members were elected indirectly. They represent
women, young people and people with disabilities. The quota
system means that women are in the majority in the Chamber
Countryaah.com, the International Monetary Fund anticipated that the
country's growth in 2018 would be 7.2%, up one percentage
point compared to 2017. Investments in the public sector as
well as the construction and agricultural sectors boosted
Rwanda, chairing the African Union (AU), hosted a summit
in March when 44 African countries signed a free trade
agreement, AfCFTA. However, the agreement must be approved
by each country's parliament.
Both China's President Xi Jinping and India's Prime
Minister Narendra Modi made historic visits to Rwanda in
July on their way to a summit in South Africa with the
emerging economies of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russian
Federation, India, China and South Africa). Both Asian
giants promised loans and investment.
Women accounted for 50% of the new government Kagame
appointed in October. Several ministers were replaced,
including the Minister of Defense who has been sitting since
2010. Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo left the post
after nine years when she became Secretary-General of the
Organization de la Francophonie (OIF). It is a cultural,
scientific and economic cooperation organization for
French-speaking countries and regions.
This was preceded by a certain icing with France. Kagame
visited Paris in May and was then promised by President
Emmanuel Macron on French support for Rwanda to lead the
OIF. Relations between the two countries have at times been
strained when Rwanda blamed French officials for aiding the
In September, opposition politician Victoire Ingabire was
pardoned, who in 2013 was sentenced to 15 years in prison
for threatening security and impairing genocide in 1994. She
was released together with over 2,000 prisoners.
Human rights groups maintained that the media and
government opponents are under pressure and demanded that
arbitrary imprisonment and torture be stopped.
Activist Diane Shima Rwigara was indicted in November for
rioting. Prosecutors requested that she be sentenced to 22
years in prison. She was released to bail in October after
more than a year in prison. Rwigara was barred from running
for the 2017 presidential election.
In June, the Stockholm District Court sentenced a
49-year-old Rwandan-born man to life for genocide and
international law. It was the third case of its kind tried
in Sweden. The man has appealed to Svea Court of Appeal.