New women parliamentary leaders pledge to fight GBV

MP Uwineza delivers her remarks after her election as chairperson of the women parliamentary forum on Wednesday. Sam Ngendahimana.

The newly-elected chairperson of the women parliamentary forum, MP Beline Uwineza has pledged to prioritise the fight against domestic and gender based violence.

Uwineza was on Wednesday elected the new president of the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum (FFRP) during the forum’s extraordinary gathering at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura.

She recently joined parliament on the ticket of women representatives from Eastern Province.

Before joining parliament, she was the director of policy and legal affairs department at Transparency International Rwanda (TI-Rwanda), a global anti-corruption watchdog.

She said her prioritising of bringing harmony in the family was premised on findings by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) which were presented to parliament and cited rampant family conflicts that were threatening the development of the country.

“In fact, conflicts are the result of problems in families such as drug abuse, ignorance of the principle of gender equality, among others, and these affect children because parents are bickering and give no attention to their children,” she said.

She will lead the executive committee that comprises, among others, the president, the vice president, the secretary-general, as well as heads of committee including that of law, gender monitoring, enhancing the capacity of the forum, advocacy and collaboration with other instructions, as well as auditing.

Senator Jeanne d’Arc Mukakalisa was elected vice president, while MP Justine Mukobwa is the secretary-general of FFRP.

The term for the executive committee is two and a half years, which is renewable.

Uwineza replaced MP Anitha Mutesi, who has headed the forum since March 2016.

“I have the responsibility to coordinate efforts to implement the FFRP’s strategic plan to execute the gender principle between men and women in Rwanda, continue to build capacities of women and give our contribution in empowering the Rwandan family as it is the foundation of the development of the country,” she said after she was elected.

She said that her committee would build on the achievements already registered by their predecessors.

After her election, she thanked government for giving women a platform at the highest echelons of leadership.

“This committee comes into place when there is a serious issue of domestic violence in families. I promise you support and partnership to address this issue and to work diligently to achieve the responsibilities you have been given,” she said.

The forum was created in 1996, two years after the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa said that the forum has played a great role in promoting gender equality and fostering good correlation among Rwandans towards the development of the country and welfare of Rwandans.

Underscoring that no development can be achieved without promoting gender equality, which she said Rwanda has taken a commendable step towards achieving, the Speaker said there is still a long journey ahead.

“These are responsibilities that require dedication because we still have issues in family,” she said.

Currently, FFRP has 89 members, of whom 59 are women. Only women parliamentarians are allowed to vote or contest for leadership positions.