Philippe Mpayimana condemns sectarian politics, calls for unity

Mpayimana speaks to journalists after casting his vote during the legislative elections ealier this month. Sam Ngendahimana.

Former presidential and parliamentary candidate, Philippe Mpayimana, has rebuked a section of Rwandans in the Diaspora who continue to promote ethnic-based politics.

He said that this is the kind of western-inspired politicking that continues to derail the journey of Africa’s transformation as a whole.

Mpayimana said this through a statement he distributed to the media on the occasion to mark the International Day of Peace, yesterday.

The former presidential hopeful, who returned from France last year to officially launch his career in politics noted, without revealing names, that some Rwandans in the Diaspora continue to promote ethnicity and are willing to support terror groups against their country.

Instead, he said, they should invest their resources in socio-economic transformation of their country.

Mpayimana gave an account of how bad politics in the post-colonial era led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that killed over a million people, left behind thousands of orphans, and widows, while other Rwandans had to flee their country, among other consequences.

He noted that, at the onset, post-colonial politicians in Rwanda made a sequence of grave mistakes.

While the rest of African leaders were pushing colonisers out to gain full democracy and political independence of their countries, Rwandan politicians were busy promoting ethnicity and forcing some people out of their country, he said.

“I condemn the politic of divisionism and urge Rwandans in the Diaspora to shun this type of divisive politics and embrace consensual politics,” Mpayimana said in his statement.

He added, “This is why I fully support our sovereignty, home-grown solutions without any external influence and in so doing, we come up with the style of governance that best suits us, which is indeed true democracy.”

“Our country is concerned about some elements who are promoting ethnic-based politics, those who don’t support Ndi Umunyarwanda programme. They want to take us back to the dark days. Rwandan clans are way stronger that the Hutu-Tutsi ethnic classes which were promoted by the colonialists.

“Most Africans in the Diaspora back extremist rebel groups against African governments, instead of investing their resources in economic transformation of their countries of origin or working together with political parties back in their countries.” Mpayimana stressed.

He also urged whoever is willing to start a political organisation to register officially instead of engaging in confrontational politics.

Electoral reforms

Meanwhile, Mpayimana, who contested as an independent candidate for the presidency and parliament but failed on both attempts, also called on the newly elected parliament to champion reforms within the electoral law.

He said the law should be modified to make it easy for independents to have a shot, especially in the parliamentary elections.

“Rwanda’s electoral law doesn’t provide fair opportunities to independent candidates,” Mapyimana said, adding “that is why I appeal to parliament to revise this law so that independent candidates don’t contest in the same way as political parties.” 

Under the current law, during parliamentary elections, independents, just like political organisations, are required to garner five per cent of the vote to be able to secure a seat in the Lower House.

None of the four independents, who contested in the parliamentary elections earlier this month could get even one per cent of the vote.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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