With only a few hours to the Miss Rwanda 2019 grand finale, a lot of speculation and backlash has circulated on social media platforms, especially surrounding the elimination procedure that was introduced this year.
Out of the 20 girls that were picked in a competitive process in the final pre-selection event, four contestants; Joally Higiro, Darine Igihozo, Sandrine Umurungi, and Vanessa Cyiza Tuyishimire, have so far been eliminated from the boot camp.
As per the new policy, all the contestants are also required to pack all their belongings before heading to the challenges, which did not go well with some of the supporters of the pageant, with some questioning the criteria of elimination.
At the boot camp, contestants were given challenges such as the art and culture challenge, public speaking challenge, written challenge, and multimedia challenge, where the judges picked the best 12 contestants based on their performance, SMS votes, while one girl is saved by fellow contestants.
Diedonne Ishimwe, CEO of Rwanda Inspiration Backup that organises the pageant, explained that the challenges were set to prepare girls for their future projects as well as other pageants that they may contest in.
“Miss Rwanda has different stages and just like many who do not make it to the pre selection, only one of them will be the final winner. The girls are prepared for this, because they know that this is a competition, which obviously has winners and losers,” he explained.
In 2016, Rwanda, for the first time in history, took part in the Miss World beauty pageant. Miss Rwanda 2016, Jolly Mutesi, was the first beauty queen to represent the country at the international beauty pageant.
Ishimwe explained that the new developments are meant to train the girls for further beauty pageants, especially the Miss World beauty pageant, if they are to impress at the pageant.
He further revealed that in the Miss Rwanda pageants to follow, eligible contestants will be required to have implemented projects, under the ‘beauty with a purpose’ programme, as a way of carrying the pageant forward.
From the start of the pageant, Josiane Mwiseneza, the only contestant representing Western Province, has since become a hot topic on social media among Rwandans, in and out of the country.
She is famous for having walked a distance of over 10km to take part in the auditions in Rubavu, thanks to her courage and determination, which has attracted a heated debate on social media, with many Rwandans, and some foreigners backing her for the crown, while another section argues that she doesn’t deserve the crown.
“We are not under any pressure to appoint the winner for public interest. As a pageant, the winner must have an average of all the qualities that we need; beauty, brains and culture. That is why we have titles like Miss Photogenic, Miss Heritage and Miss Congeniality for those who have the qualities that people are looking for,” said Ishimwe.
He added that although some contestants have been saved by the public votes, their scores in the challenges contributed highly in the selection process, with the biggest number being saved by the judges.
The highly anticipated grand finale has been scheduled for tomorrow at 6.30pm, at Intare Conference Arena, Rusororo, where the winner will be announced.
Organisers promised a colourful event, where the finalists will showcase their talents and present their projects before Rwandans.
Also, there will be buses to pick revellers at Amohoro Stadium, Remera and at Kwa Rubangura, in town.