RPF picks youth,women grassroots leaders

Women in a cheerful mood during RPF elections on May 12, 2019. / Courtesy

Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) has embarked on a series of grassroots elections from the village and cell levels, starting with committees representing women and youth leagues.

RPF cadres elected 10 representatives of youth, and 7 representatives of women at both village and cell levels.

RPF commissioner in charge of elections, Marie Claire Mukasine, said that  participation was above of 90 per cent countrywide.

She said that, in most places, the polls were held on Saturday but there were exceptions where people were allowed to continue with the process on Sunday.

“Preliminary reports indicate that the process was generally peaceful,” said Mukasine, who is also a Senator.

“RPF chose to support the youth, for instance, in the national executive committee of the party, the youth are impressively represented; they make up over 50 per cent of the committee,” she said.

Next weekend, on May 18-19, RPF cadres will again convene to elect members of the general executive committee at the village and cell levels.

The executive committee is made up of the president, the vice president, secretary and four commissioners.

Rwanda has 2,148 cells and 14, 837 villages. The governing RPF-Inkontayi is represented in all decentralised entities of the country.

On June 1 and 2, youth and women representatives will be elected in all the 416 sectors of the country.

A week later, on June 7 and 8, elections will take place at the district level. On June 15 and 16, youth and women leaders will be elected at provincial level and City of Kigali, and later, the executive committees.

In line with the constitution of Rwanda, 30 per cent of seats in every RPF committee are reserved for women.

Every executive committee has three members who were voted through the youth league, despite the youth being allowed to contest for the rest of the executive seats as well.

Mukasine said it is a move aimed to encourage young people’s presence in decision-making positions.

“I can say that promoting women is one of the main principles of the constitution, but I think empowering the youth is the vision of RPF-Inkotanyi; giving them a chance in leadership at all levels,” she noted.

Mukasine said that RPF, throughout its history, has always had the youth at its heart.

“The sacrifice made by the youth, and their contribution during the struggle to liberate the country was essential,” she noted.

The commissioner added that such representation was necessary because the largest section of the population are youthful.

Vital Kayiranga, 30, who was elected for the position of good governance in RPF Youth in Nyagasenyi Cell, Kigabiro Sector of Rwamagana District, said the youth are the at heart of RPF programmes.

“Our country is in the hands of capable leaders, we will be the eyes of the youth that we represent. We will be able to report to the national leaders the challenges facing the youth, such as unemployment, but we will also help open their eyes to available opportunities such as the benefits of joining cooperatives,” he said.

Mukasine said that, after the electoral process, the next step will be to have induction courses to equip the new leaders with the necessary skills to efficiently discharge their responsibilities.