KIGALI - Rwanda is proof that there are solutions to African problems if people are involved in decision making and efforts utilised collectively, Parliament heard yesterday.
This was said by Jenerali Ulimwengu, a former Tanzanian MP, as he addressed a cross section of political and good governance experts and members from both chambers of parliament at the official launch of the report on “Political Pluralism and Power Sharing in Rwanda.”
Ulimwengu, an expert on civil society issues of good governance, education and human rights said that though Rwanda has achieved a lot, it was important that both the leaders and the led not to be lax.
“Rwanda is one of Africa’s shining examples of what is workable. However, that is not irreversible. There is need to keep up the vigilance and hard work,” he said.
Ulimwengu was joined by Kenya’s Ceasar Handa who praised Rwanda’s approach on decentralisation and good governance.
Handa is the Chief Executive of Strategic Research and was contracted by the UNDP to monitor the media coverage for the main political parties in Kenya during the 2008 Presidential and parliamentary elections.
“In any democracy, it is very important that each person has a say on issues that affect them. This report portrays a right democratic path,” Handa said, commenting on the senatorial report.
He however questioned the timeline that was put in place for the research and publication of the report.
“This report was done in 2009 and it’s being presented towards 2011. We should keep in mind that people’s opinions change over time especially in instances where we have for example, in Rwanda’s case, had elections,” he said
He tipped the lawmakers on ideas of how to conduct future research work pointing out the need to ask for recommendations.
“In future, it should be remembered that asking for opinions is not enough. Research should also ask people for their opinions since the core issue is to involve each and everyone,” he said
Senator Joseph Karemera, who heads the Political Affairs Commission and whose team was in charge of the research, said that there has been growth in Rwandan politics as compared to the previous regimes.
“Power sharing as a political option was practically nonexistent previously,” Karemera said.