Presidential elections seem to attract aspirants from Rwandan Diaspora in their hordes. In the run to the 2003 presidential elections, new parties were formed both abroad and at home for the purpose of fielding presidential candidates.
Apart from Faustin Twagiramungu, once a prominent politician who rose to the position of Prime Minister under President Pasteur Bizimungu, others are little known to Rwandan masses, who don’t have inclination or access to internet blogs and websites that serve as political platforms to Diaspora politicians.
What is intriguing is that these parties, after the race for the highest office in the nation fizzle out. That the individuals concerned are self seekers aiming at nothing short of the ‘hot seat’ is evident by the fact that these parties hardly showed interest in the parliamentary elections which followed the presidential elections nor do they show commitment to national aspirations.
One would have expected these budding political parties to get involved in parliamentary politics as a way of securing seats in parliament. Then they would be able to articulate their ideologies and vision to the electorate from a vintage point, that parliament provides.
It is worthwhile to note that ours is a multi-party system in which several parties fight for a limited number of seats in parliament.
Unlike other democracies, the winner does not take all but rather shares political positions like cabinet ministries with other parties. That, in my opinion, is the surest way to gain entry into the political play field.
Even in situations where there are dominant parties like the Social Democratic Party in Sweden and ANC in South Africa, there is room for small parties to be part of government.
In South Africa a new party was formed, perhaps to test the dominance of ANC. Unexpectedly a seasoned clergy man was elected to test the turf against the indomitable ANC’s Jacob Zuma.
From among many political heavy weights, Rev. Dr. H. Muvule Dandala was elected presidential candidate for Congress of the People (COPE) in the 2009 elections.
He was a preferred candidate mainly because of his solid achievements as a clergyman, as a human rights activist and generally free of political blemish. COPE, certainly did not expect to oust the dominant African National Congress immediately but laid foundation for the future.
Does the Rwandan diaspora provide such a politician! Very often the rise to prominence, by the aspiring candidates in their foreign constituency, is through pedaling anti-establishment campaigns.
It is my considered opinion that these exiles, whether self imposed or otherwise, are ill informed about the situation in Rwanda.
When Twagiramungu came to the country for the 2003 elections, with his purse well lined with donor support dollars, he appreciated achievement in the education sector and with cheek in tongue marveled at the upcoming Nyarutarama housing estate.
But as soon as he returned to exile, he resumed his old vocabulary of “Akazu” and such like derogatory pre-1994 terms to negate the countries social economic progress.
The veteran politician, however, no longer cites names of the Akazu dwellers, because some those names he touted in the past have joined him in exile, for just the same reasons: Thirst for money and power.
Of the other two that have expressed interest and formed political parties, I am eager to attend the first press conference by the 41 year old Victoire Ingabire.
I prefer the mother of two and accountant to the hotelier Paul Rusesagina, the self acclaimed hero made celebrity by Hollywood. As one American statesman said, you can cheat all the people but you can’t cheat all the people all the time.
Rusesabagina has been found to be a fraudster not a hero and might face court action for negating genocide.
Ingabire Umuhoza on the other hand needs time at home to reeducate herself instead of relying on negative propaganda. The claim that there is no freedom of the press or association in Rwanda is absurd.
How is that possible when the local press reproduces what the so-called critics of the Rwanda government splash in the world media? In some cases such articles are reported verbatim.
After 15 years out of the country the youthful graduate of commercial law and accounting could benefit by joining Ms Evelyn Kamagaju, the auditor general, in her endeavor to improve public finance management as a way to contribute to good governance which is a cornerstone of her political vision.
The experience would allow her time and opportunity to study the situation and prepare for parliamentary elections in three years time.
For when her party gains seats in parliament, she will be able to translate her ideals into reality. Her purported objective to “introduce a rule of law and a constitutional state where international democratic standards are respected” is not new to our legislators.
She could join them, learn from them and exchange ideas about democratic practice. It would help in future when time is ripe for the high office.