The least women expect from the next President is the guarantee that they continue to enjoy the same or even more rights and privileges as it is presently.
Grace Mugiraneza, a lawyer, says that the next Rwandan President should ensure that young women are given more space in politics and opportunities to “meaningfully” participate in socio-economic development of the country.
“I expect consistency and broadening of policies that give women more power and influence and continuity of the good politics on gender,” she said.
Mugiraneza said the country has done a lot in gender mainstreaming across all sectors, and the fact that the women form a record 64 per cent of Parliament presentation in addition to having over 40 per cent in the Executive.
During the recently concluded 29th African Union Summit, Rwanda was elected to lead the Union in 2018, implying that the next President will lead the agenda.
Mugiraneza says this would be an opportunity to extend gender-mainstreaming goals to the rest of the continent.
“Our next President, also as a leader of AU next year, should encourage fellow leaders to create opportunities for both young Africans and of course Rwandan youths and women in all fronts and creating enabling environment to participate in politics. In most cases, women and youth in leadership tend to selflessly serve their nations right,” she said.
According to the provisional voters list released by the National Electoral Commission, last week, 54 per cent are women.
Eugenie Mushimiyimana, the head of the Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs, said Rwanda’s majority population is women.
It would pay off if the next President ensures that women have an enabling environment to do business and prosper, she added.
“Women form close to 52 per cent of the Rwandan population. If women continue to enjoy the privileges they have now in business and leadership, the nation will certainly thrive,” Mushimiyimana said.
She commended the current facilitation for the women entrepreneurs but noted that more efforts can be put in addressing issues relating to, skills development access to finance, especially for the small and medium women enterprises.
Christella Kamanzi, a photographer, explains why the next President must guarantee the sustainability of the progress women have so far gained.
“We are proud of where we are as women. We have overcome fears of doing things that were culturally considered to be masculine. There are several women in photography, engineering and business and you realise that this has contributed so much to the economic transformation of our country. The next President can only sustain this trend,” Kamanzi said.
Official campaigns will begin on Friday, and end August 3.
The country goes to the polls on August 4, a day after Rwandans living in the Diaspora will have cast their vote.