8 February 2013

Uganda: Opposition Green Party Official Missing

The Communications Secretary of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, a yet to be registered opposition political party in Rwanda, Omar Leo, has gone missing since Jan. 15, the Party's president Frank Habineza says.

Omar is the second Green Party official to disappear. In 2010, the party's then-vice president Andre Kagwa Rwisereka died in a case that police is still investigating.

Habineza says that he first learnt of Omar's disappearance from his family on Jan. 18.

"His family called me on January 18 when I was still in Madagascar where I had gone to help their Green Party organise a congress and told me that Omar had disappeared three days ago," Habineza told The Independent.

Worrying situation

Habineza on Jan. 28 wrote to the Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, and copied in the Minister of Internal Security, Fazil Harerimana, Minister of Defense Gen.James Kabarebe and the Secretary General of the National Security Services (NSS) Lt.Karenzi Karake, seeking their "intervention in locating the whereabouts of Omar". Habineza said the "situation is worrying".

The disappearance of Omar has resurrected questions into the progress of investigations into the death of the late Rwisereka, who was found beheaded in 2010. The police attributed the crime to robbery and the perpetrators have never been brought to justice.

The Police Spokesperson, SP Theos Badege said in missing person cases, a family member or the closest person t notifies local area officials, then the nearest police station. He said Omar's family had not reported the case.

About the Rwisereka case, Badege, who was not a police spokesperson at the time, said he needed to consult before making an official statement.

Registration, Parliamentary elections

Habineza is still waiting for his party to be registered after returning from a 2 year self-imposed exile in Sweden.

The youthful opposition leader says his main task is to register the party before end of March and also hold a national congress which will help him prepare for Parliamentary elections in September this year.

Despite acknowledging that his party will find it hard to compete with other parties that are already established in the country, Habineza says his political party will garner the 5% required to enter parliament.

Habineza also wants to contest for a Parliamentary seat in order to "prepare ground as a presidential aspirant in 2017."

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