Historical context critical in path to democratisation, experts say

Rwanda’s historical context has shaped and informed the country’s unique democratic dispensation and should be looked at in the lenses of this unique context, according to political analysts.
Participants during the meeting in Kigali. Michel Nkurunziza.
Participants during the meeting in Kigali. Michel Nkurunziza.

Rwanda’s historical context has shaped and informed the country’s unique democratic dispensation and should be looked at in the lenses of this unique context, according to political analysts.

The experts were speaking Friday during the national conference on political philosophy of Rwanda’s democracy organised by National Consultative Forum of Political Organizations.

Prof. Charles Mulinda Kabwete, a researcher in social sciences and history, said Rwanda’s democratisation journey was shaped through critically looking and drawing lessons from the country’s past experience.

“Leadership challenges that Rwanda faced in the past were mainly based on the colonial legacy where authoritarianism, discrimination based on ethnicity, regions, religion and others were the order of the day,” he said.

He noted that the kind of leadership that expelled one section of the population and for decades denied them to return to their own country informed the current model of leadership that is inclusive and welcoming to all Rwandans wherever they may be.

“After the Genocide a new constitution ushered in a democratic dispensation which is specific to Rwanda based on her historical context. That democracy might be different from that practiced in other countries and therefore no one should say we are wrong because they do not understand our context,” he said.

Former Senator Antoine Mugesera said that democracy is well defined in Rwanda’s constitution and that people interested in the way the country is governed must first understand its uniqueness.

Mugesera said that the target of such discussions is to ensure people do not interpret Rwanda’s democracy in the wrong way.

Darius Mayindo, a youth from the Workers’ Party, PSR, said the discussions on Rwanda’s democracy is a good channel for the youth, especially those that have chosen to join politics, to understand their country’s political discourse before they can determine their role in that discourse.

Frank Habineza, the president of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, added that he agrees with the consensual style of democracy that Rwanda has chosen but added that political competition should further be strengthened.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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