Mpayimana faces tough questions as presidential campaigns start

Independent presidential candidate Philipe Mpayimana had a rough day on his first rally in Nyamata, Bugesera District, yesterday.
Mpayimana presents his manifesto to residents of Nyamata. James Habimana.
Mpayimana presents his manifesto to residents of Nyamata. James Habimana.

Independent presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana had a rough day on his first rally in Nyamata, Bugesera District, yesterday.

At the rally, which was held in Nyamata Sector and attracted less than 50 people, citizens asked the presidential aspirant to elaborate more about his manifesto and kept drawing comparisons between his plans and the polices that the RPF-led government has rolled out over the years.

 

Voters cited key flagship programmes introduced by the current government such as the community-based health insurance scheme (Mutuelle de Sante) and challenged Mpayimpana on what novelty he would come up with if he were elected president.

 
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Independent canidate Philippe Mpayimana in Bugesera yesterday. James Habimana.

“Though I am happy with the state of the health sector, especially the Mutuel de Sante scheme, there are weaknesses I will address to make it completely free for the poorest Rwandan.”

 

Under the current Ubudehe stratification programme, government pays the premiums for the most disadvantaged citizens (in the first category), while it also offers some support to those in the second category to help them access healthcare.

Mpayimana also pledged to introduce a tax regime that will see everyone pay their fair share, depending on how much they earn.

He also promised to create millions of jobs for the youth once elected.

Mpayimana also told those who had converged at his rally that he will improve Universal Primary Education and encourage every Rwandan child to go school. Her did not offer details on how he intends to do this.

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Mpayimana goes door-to-door to woo voters to his rally. J. Habimana.

After Mpayimana presented his manifesto, one of the area residents, Jean Damascene Hakizimana, asked him whether he had done anything noteworthy for the country like the RPF-Inkotanyi candidate, Incumbent President Paul Kagame.

“I can’t compare myself to Kagame but I have done a lot of research and I promise to contribute to the development of this country if you give me a chance,” responded the former-teacher-turned-politician.

Mpayimana, 47, who only returned to Rwanda recently from France where he had spent 13 years, has authored a few publications about Rwanda.

Another Nyamata resident, Leoncie Mukansanga, asked Mpayimana what he would give to the ordinary Rwandans considering that Kagame initiated, among others, the Girinka programme, under which over 300,000 poor households have received a cow each over the last 10 years.

“It’s true he gave you cows but better times are ahead (ibyiza biri imbere),” he said.

Addressing a rally in Nyanza yesterday, Kagame recognised the contribution of his two challengers, Mpayimana, and Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, toward the country’s democratisation process by presenting themselves for election.

After Nyamata, Mpayimana headed to Gashora Sector in Bugesera District where he also addressed a small crowd.

Today, the independent candidate heads to Muhanga and Nyanza districts for the second day of his campaigns.

Kagame addressed rallies in Ruhango and Nyanza districts on Day I of the presidential campaigns yesterday, while Habineza held his first rally in Rusizi District.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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