Philippe Mpayimana, one of the contestants in the Presidential elections held in August this year, has criticized individuals who get into politics without any constructive agenda.
Mpayimana was reacting to Gilbert Mwenedata who failed to get on the ballot paper in the same elections.
This was after he could not meet the minimum requirements as per the National Electoral Commission guidelines.
“If it is enough to want to join politics because you are in exile or because you have the means to flee, there are several thousands of Rwandans who would contest in each election. But if the requirement is to take time and develop a progressive agenda that is consistent both home and abroad, then only few will contest,” Mpayimana said, in a statement posted on his website.
In an attempt to discredit Mpayimana, self-exiled Mwenedata, in a radio talk show, claimed that the former Presidential hopeful was being manipulated.
“I contested as a fully independent candidate. I was not being used by anyone in power,” Mpayimana said, adding that such talk is an attempt to discourage Rwandans from contributing to the country’s political discourse.
He cautioned against political aspirants getting involved in criminal activities, saying that being a contestant for political office does not make someone immune from prosecution.
“If unsuccessful colleagues are prosecuted or questioned by the judicial services, it does not mean that those who are free are accomplices of power,” Mpayimana added.
“My freedom is proof that the kind of opposition politics that work for Rwanda and Africa is one that is constructive, respectful and non-violent. That is the politics I subscribe to.”
This kind of politics, Mpayimana said, is what the Mandela institute advocated for in a recent International Conference hosted to discuss the challenges to Opposition in Africa.
“For the Electoral Commission to accept my candidacy is proof that democracy is taking root in Rwanda. It is not exile that will make us free, but the clarity of what we wish for our country and the contribution we are ready to make.”