38 female candidates vying for the six parliamentary seats the Western Province said they will advocate toempower women and holding accountable people who misuse public funds.
Elections for the 24 special seats reserved for women takes place on September 4.
On last day of their campaign, each candidate elaborated what she would focus on if elected to Parliament.Many reflected on women’s economic empowerment and good use of public funds.
Saverine Nyirazirikana from Rutsiro District said she got inspired after conducting many activities which helped people, especially women, to develop themselves.
Nyirazirikana who coordinates more than 500 informal saving groups in a project funded by ADEPR and Hope International, said the program would be the best tool to help Rwandans get out of poverty.
“When I started with them, they saved little money and they bought livestock. Now they have managed to own cows without any external support. If I’m elected to be an MP, I will advocate to expand these informal saving groups to all Rwandans as a way to develop themselves,” she said.
She said because of these groups, women manage to empower themselves and some of them who had been separated from their husbands regain their peaceful families.
Saving should be started at an early age, when children are still in school in order to reduce their dependency which may lead to unwanted pregnancies, she said.
People in the first category of Ubudehe should be put in saving groups in order to help them graduate to other higher categories, instead of always asking to remain in the poor category,” she said.
Christine Bakundufite a professional economist and parliamentary candidate from Nyabihu District said she often follows how the Public Accounts Committee in the parliament works and how they always summon officials to explain why they misused public funds.
“Sometimes people misuse the funds not because they stole it but because they don’t know how to follow procedures. I want to use the opportunity of being in parliament to focus on teaching all concerned people how to be accountable with public money and all basic skills as a way of preventing losses to the country,” she said.
Bakundukize who said she had clean audit report for over five consecutive years, can use her personal time to train people concerned in order to promote accountability, she said.
Fides Twayinganyiki Ingabire the vice President of National Women Council in Western Province also a female candidate said if she is elected she would advocate to increase the budget destined to empowering women.
“Women institutions have the best projects but they are not implemented because they lack funds. If I’m elected, I will advocate to put more money into women empowerment,” she said.
Spéciose Ayinkamiye said she would advocate for women to find enough funds which they can use to develop themselves.
“I will check if they access easily all opportunities the country created for them like loan services among others,” she said.
Vestine Uwanyirigira a voter, said it is a good thing that the candidates think of economic empowerment not only for women but also for all Rwandans.
“For some women, it is still a challenge to start small businesses because they lack capital. If these candidates do what they promised to us once in parliament, more women will be economically empowered,” she said.