KIGALI - POLITICAL parties are not weak but need more time to build up their portfolios and garner support from the local community, the Executive Secretary for the Forum for Political Parties of Rwanda (FPPR); Anicet Kayigema has said.
Kayigema was responding to segments of the recently published Senatorial report that said that apart from the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), the other political parties were hardly known by the locals.
Kayigema told The New Times yesterday that the law had not been flexible enough to allow the navigation of political parties to the grassroots level, which he said has since changed.
“Previously, maybe one could have said that the law was not flexible but since 2007, all registered political parties are allowed to sell their portfolio to all levels of Rwandans,” he said
The report, however, also attributes the unpopularity of the parties to their choice of appearing only during elections.
“A sizeable number of the respondents indicated that they did not know the political ideologies of certain parties. However, these observations can be attributed to the fact that certain parties appear during elections and hence do not have sufficient time to sell their ideology,” the report says
Asked what FPPR does to strengthen the capacity of political parties, Kayigema explained that a lot has been done in the areas of capacity building, adding that what remains is the responsibility of the parties.
“We have done a lot as a Forum; we have achieved a lot in the area of capacity building. Garnering support from locals and building the party is the of course a result of the party’s hard work. Now that the law has changed, I am sure that the parties will grow stronger,” he said.
The reports also pointed out the political parties were also facing financial constraints that would not allow them to go as far as they would have wanted.
Only three of the nine registered political parties were this year able to benefit from the government financially
According to Article 77 of the Constitution, “A political organization or list of independent candidates which fails to attain at least 5 percent of the votes cast at the national level during legislative elections cannot be represented in the Chamber of Deputies or benefit from grants given to political organizations by the State,” the article reads.
A total of Rwf 500 million was shared between the RPF-led coalition, PSD and PL after they each attained over 5 percent in the 2008 parliamentary elections.
FPPR is constitutionally recognized in Rwanda as a platform for dialogue and exchange of ideas among political organizations on the country’s problems and national policies.