EDITORIAL; A diverse Senate that serves the country as one

There is no noisy music blaring from trucks, no oversized posters of candidates fighting for every available space on walls, trees and electric poles, no running battles with the security forces.

In fact, it would be difficult to convince a visitor that we are in the middle of senatorial elections. Drive or walk around the countryside and one finds that nothing is out of place; it is a day like any other.

Actually, everything about Rwandan politics is a whole history lesson. A look into the past gave the Government bitter lessons on how confrontational types of politics always keep countries on edge and election time is a litmus test on their political maturity.

Many fail the test because candidates pitched camp away from each other; everyone is protecting “his” and “their” interests. That is the time to distinguish statesmen from politicians (busy politicking only to gain a place at the dinner table).

Rwanda chose to go the opposite direction, of having a consensus before every political decision; that is the whole concept of power-sharing; no winner-takes-all.

That concept of seeking divergent views also informs how the Senate is selected. The fact that diverse social groups are given a chance to choose senators from among their specialised groups, the Rwandan Senate is a melting pot of ideas.

It is not a lobby group that only looks after the interests of the particular group that elected or appointed them. Once they step into the chambers, it is only the interests of the country that matter. That is the beauty of Rwandan politics that many outsiders have failed to grasp.