HUYE - Athanasie Gahondogo, a former legislator, is returning to Parliament to replace Bernadette Kanzayire on the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) ticket
According a recent release by the National Electoral Commission, Gahondogo replaces Kanzayire following the latter’s appointment as the deputy Ombudsman.
Speaking to The New Times, Gahondogo described her bounce back to Parliament as ‘an opportunity to serve.’
She served one term in Parliament between 2003-2008 where she was also a member of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Youth.
“I bring with me a lot of experience gained during my time in parliament,” the 56- year old legislator said.
“For the last two years, I have been much closer to the local people and now know what challenges they are faced with.”
Since leaving Parliament in 2008, Gahondogo has been lecturing at the National University of Rwanda and also doing research work at the university’s Centre for Conflict Management.
“I have had time to interact with local people and what is quite astonishing is the lack of ownership of government programs meant to promote their livelihood,” said Gahondogo.
“People still think that it is the role of government to provide them with everything they need, they have not yet realised that they have a big role to play for their own development.”
On poverty, Gahondogo said that poverty alleviation programs need to be well explained to the local population so as not to be misunderstood.
“I talked to a group of people who were complaining that they had been stopped from growing sweet potatoes and that were being told to grow maize instead. After engaging them in a discussion, they eventually concurred with me that in fact growing maize had more economic benefits,” she said.
“The poverty alleviation strategies are very good but they need to be well explained to the local population for them to have a positive impact on their lives. This is one of the issues that I will insist with when in parliament.”