Politicians speak out on tolerance, democracy

Heads of public institutions yesterday gathered at the Parliamentary Buildings to mark the International Democracy Day an occasion at which they held a dialogue on the progress and challenges of political tolerance and democratic dispensation in the country.
Senate President Vincent Biruta (R) listens to Hon. Juvenal Nkusi as Augustin Nzindukiyimana of the Ombudsman’s office looks on at Parliament Yesterday. (Photo/ J Mbanda)
Senate President Vincent Biruta (R) listens to Hon. Juvenal Nkusi as Augustin Nzindukiyimana of the Ombudsman’s office looks on at Parliament Yesterday. (Photo/ J Mbanda)

Heads of public institutions yesterday gathered at the Parliamentary Buildings to mark the International Democracy Day an occasion at which they held a dialogue on the progress and challenges of political tolerance and democratic dispensation in the country.

The dialogue characterized by heated debate was also attended by development partners as observers.
Several presentations were made by Rwandan experts on various research carried out on political tolerance and democracy in Rwanda.

The Speaker of the Lower Chamber of Parliament, Rose Mukantabana, said that the country chose political tolerance as an approach to restructure its history.

She added that besides political tolerance, the country has also embarked on democracy, power-sharing and positive criticism.

“We are currently on track in implementing these policies,” said Mukantabana.

The Executive Secretary of Rwanda Forum for Political Parties, Anicet Kayigema said that political tolerance is the pillar of Rwanda’s consensus democracy approach. 

“In this approach, everybody is supposed to listen to the other and support each other, but this doesn’t mean that negative and destructive ideas should be supported,” said Kayigema.

Commenting on Rwanda’s democracy, Kigali City Mayor, Dr Aisa Kirabo said that it is based on scientific analysis which makes it easy to implement.

She added that the uniqueness of Rwanda’s leadership style has made it easy for the country to make tremendous progress in several fields.

“We should however spend more time coming up with ways of addressing unsuccessful practices.

Also, there should be away of building confidence among the people we are leading to narrow the gap between leaders and the population,” said Kirabo.

She noted that a new platform for hard debates should be created and also urged her fellow leaders to learn receiving all forms of criticisms posed towards them.

The Chairman of the National Electoral Commission Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa said that normally, when a research is conducted, people tend not to speak the real truth.

“When you are conducting a verbal research, the majority of the interviewees will tell you the truth about the subject but this is not going to be the case when you are conducting a recorded research,” Karangwa explained.

Senator Joseph Karemera who moderated the dialogue advised his fellow politicians to focus more on how they can change the mindset of the people than listing their weaknesses.

Commenting on reports on Western cynicism about democracy in Africa, the deputy Speaker of Parliament in Charge of Political Affairs, Denis Polisi, said that the reason why the West has tarnished Africa is because they want to justify their charity business.

“As a result of this, the West has also manipulated the media in exchange for money; an African journalist earns a lot from selling a bad story of Africa than a good one,” added Polisi.

In a seemingly different intervention, the Governor of the Eastern Province Dr Ephraim Kabaija called upon the country not to always be on the defensive.

“We need to look deep into these reports compiled by westerners; we need to look at how they conduct their surveys in terms of target audience and  come up with concrete ways of addressing our failures,” said Kabaija.

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