For RPF leadership, democracy starts from within

It is now 24 years since the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) took on the noble task of transforming Rwanda into a dignified nation. Today, Rwanda has become a stable, unified and resilient country.

Due to years of tyranny and divisive politics - under the then MRND ruling party - which culminated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the Rwandan people had no voice and had lost hope for a democratic nation.

However, over the last two decades, Rwanda has changed for the better with the progressive and transformational nature of the RPF winning the hearts of Rwandans who now decide what is best for them.

Currently, of the 11 political parties in Rwanda, the RPF-Inkotanyi has the largest membership with the more Rwandans continually signing up to be active members. And, by establishing a government of national unity, the philosophy of inclusiveness has also been appreciated by non-members.

This set up has left the RPF-Inkotanyi with a massive responsibility of maintaining the people’s trust in all critical areas – a task it has not taken lightly and performed without any reservation.

It is such commitment to the well-being the Rwandan people that has made programmes such as universal access to healthcare and free education-for-all a success. The living standards of ordinary Rwandans have continually risen under the RPF leadership.

As the Chairman of the RPF Inkotanyi, President Paul Kagame, usually says, democracy is a well-emphasised pillar of the party. The RPF-Inkotanyi believes that true democracy is the best form of good governance ever conceived and practiced.

This is why the RPF-Inkotanyi strives to establish democratic governance starting from within the party itself. All party members, right from the grassroots level, exercise their rights of getting heard by transparently choosing their representatives or vying for leadership positions.

Looking back to the last presidential elections in August 2017, the RPF fielded a candidate who had to be chosen by all party members starting from the grassroots level. That is the process President Kagame went through prior to running for office.

And now, with the parliamentary elections fast approaching, the RPF democratic blueprint that guarantees each member a voice and opportunity to run for office comes into play.

On September 2-3, 2018, Rwandans both living in the country and abroad will go to the polls to vote their representatives in Parliament. In the build-up to the elections, the RPF once again reaffirms its commitment to democracy within the party.

This weekend, June 2 -3, 2018 the party will hold its primaries to get nominations for the candidates who will become members of parliament. RPF members countrywide will vote more than 4,000 candidates from 2,148 administrative cells.

From the cell level, the potential candidates will further compete at different levels higher up until the final list of RPF contestants are identified ahead of the September polls.

This thorough process ensures that all members, right from the grassroots, can exercise their democratic right when it comes to being elected or deciding their representatives.

Considering the paramount role of the parliament in building an unshakable nation, it is time to urge all RPF members to vote competent and committed cadres once the primaries begin.

In a nutshell, the RPF leadership exemplifies the true definition of democracy: “Leadership of the people, by the people, and for the people”.

From my own perception and experience, the RPF unique approach is significant. It helps produce a democratic and people-centered leadership that Rwandans and Africans, in general, should yearn and be proud of as we collectively move toward the Rwanda and the Africa we want.

The author is a senior RPF cadre.

The views expressed in this article are of the author.

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