URUGWIRO VILLAGE - As the presidential elections approach, President Paul Kagame, yesterday, said that one of the expectations from the various political parties is more vibrant and mature politics.
Kagame, made these remarks during a monthly press conference that was held at Urugwiro Village.
As he emphasized democracy and competition based on ideas, the President highlighted that the various parties are expected to partake in the elections in an environment where people are free to express their views.
“The message for elections is clear. As we get better in many ways and put the country back together and as our politics continue to mature, what is expected, is continued stability and security for our country and for people to respect diversity of opinions.” Kagame said.
The President reiterated that Rwanda accepts divergent political views and political parties as long as they meet the requirements of the law.
Citing individuals like Victoire Ingabire of the yet-to-be registered FDU Inkingi party and Bernard Ntaganda, Kagame added that, it is disrespectful that foreigners should view the Rwandan society through the prism of such people.
“These fellows have no views at all, they are just a creation of some sort by people who have contempt for us. It is up to us to decide whether we should be held in such contempt,” he said.
The president challenged the registered political parties in the country to reclaim their rightful space, that these politically bankrupt individuals are trying to occupy.
“These parties need to take their right place now. This comes with maturity of our politics overtime,” Kagame said.
“These other parties have now matured and have developed through sharing in the hardships we have gone through together so they understand….these are the right people to compete...I agree and encourage them and I know this will be healthy competition.,” he added.
As regards Rwandans in the diaspora who have not yet acquired national identity cards- a prerequisite for voting, it was revealed that temporary consular voting cards will be provided at various Rwandan Embassies in foreign countries.
In relation to the upcoming 16th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the President also emphasized government’s commitment to protect survivors and ensuring that they enjoy their rights.
Citing corrupt officials who have diverted survivors’ funds on various occasions, Kagame noted that it is very difficult to deal with human beings, who despite being trusted to deliver, end up misusing these resources.
“You put resources in the hands of some people thinking that because they are part of that group of people, they will understand their plight but the same people are the ones who create the mess. It is a pathetic situation, but our commitment to deal with these matters is still very strong,” the President said.
Kagame, also addressed questions about education, child labour, the genocide ideology law, as well as government’s efforts to manage the post-traumatic stress disorder cases in the country.
He said that the fight against child labour has improved over the last 10 years, with most children enrolling into school.
“We have not only availed an opportunity for each child to go to school but we really try to follow up at local levels, that is why today we have close to 2.3 million children in primary school,” Kagame said.
Regarding the law on genocide ideology, the President said that it does not solve the problem but rather helps to deal with putting things in order.
“There are people complaining about this law. They make it so political and are always suspicious of our intentions.
People fear the abuse of it and anticipate the abuse of it.”
However, Kagame said there is room for flexibility and the law can be fine-tuned to make it clear.