The Petit Stade at Amahoro National Stadium, in Remera, was a scene of colourful fervour Saturday as youth members of the RPF-Inkotanyi from all over the country convened in a national conference that elected their first-ever National Executive Committee.
Not even the unpleasantly cold and rainy weather conditions, during most of the morning, could dampen the atmosphere as live music and dance punctuated the calm and orderly poll presided over by Francois Xavier Ngarambe, Secretary General of the RPF, and other senior party stalwarts.
The RPF youths elected Rose-Marie Diane Umuhoza, 29, an employee of the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) as their national committee President and Emmanuel Rukundo, as Vice President, while the Secretary is Jeanne Musaniwabo.
Apart from the top trio, the seven-member body has four special committee members in charge of good governance, Vincent Nsanzabankunda; Justice, Cecile Ntakirutimana; economic development, Evelyne Bampiriye; and socials affairs, Asiah Ingabire.
During the same occasion, the RPF youth also elected 10 candidates from which five will be selected for the RPF National executive committee (NEC), when the party’s Political Bureau next convenes.
The 10 are Justine Mukobwa, Wilson Wamara, Dr Abdallah Utumatwishima, Francine Uwamariya, Aloys Nteziryayo, David Rusirare, Francoise Gakanda, Ildephonse Nsanzimana, Claudine Uwimana and Yves Musoni Ndamage.
Apart from the vote, the over 2,000 congregation discussed at length the role of youth in development, Ndi Umunyarwanda initiative, and the nature and responsibilities of the RPF national youth league.
Rallying the youth to promote the spirit of Ndi Umunyarwanda, Ngarambe, told them that everyone was relying on them to build a better Rwanda.
“You are the ones that will build this nation and, protect it if the need arises. But that can only be attained by a youth that is well brought up, a youth that loves the nation and only works hard to have a better nation,” Ngarambe said.
“This country expects a lot from you in the spheres of sportsmanship, advancement of technology, and other very many good things that you are capable of achieving.
The old generation, is comforted because we put all our trust in you. You should not let us down. This is your time to begin preparing for a better Rwanda. To achieve your objectives, you must be identified by love for one another and patriotism”
Willy Bayingana, a second year student from the Tumba College of Technology, in Rulindo District, told The New Times that the he was happy and encouraged by the chances the youth are being given to take a vital role in the country’s development agenda.
“This allows us to play a role in the affairs of our country, contribute to a mindset change that is crucial for development. I personally, would put emphasis on this Ndi Umunyarwanda initiative that shuns segregation,” Bayingana said.
Nonetheless, the telecommunications and electrical engineering student said he was not oblivious of the myriad of challenges, including drugs, illiteracy, HIV/AIDS, a poor reading culture, and others that must be dealt with.
“Education, for example, is very important in helping us address many things. Drugs are also endangering the youth’s capabilities, not forgetting the poor reading culture. All these, and many others, are issues we need to pay attention to,” he noted.
During the discourse before the elections kicked off, Jean de Dieu Ndaruhutse, another delegate, said: “We must use all our energy to ensure that our country develops more. The youth of this country have the potential to take it to even higher if we focus on that”.