Democracy varies depending on history – US scholar

KIGALI - A country’s historical background is a major determinant in the kind of democracy a nation will have and how its systems work, Ambassador Jonathan Moore told the Senate yesterday.
Jonathan Moore and Joseph Karemera during the session at the yesterday (Photo; T. Kisambira)
Jonathan Moore and Joseph Karemera during the session at the yesterday (Photo; T. Kisambira)

KIGALI - A country’s historical background is a major determinant in the kind of democracy a nation will have and how its systems work, Ambassador Jonathan Moore told the Senate yesterday.

Moore, who is a former American Ambassador to the United Nations, was addressing Senators in discussions centred on democracy under the theme: “Functioning of American Senate Versus Rwanda Senate in Promoting Democracy”.
“All this depends on what the country has gone through ... its socio-political background,” he said.

Ambassador Moore took the Senators through how the American Senators get into office and how they work.
He informed the Senators that the Senate is a powerful arm of government pointing out that the President is required to consult with them before he nominates any high profile leader into office.

Ambassador Moore also explained that the Senate was looked upon by the members of the public as a solution to whatever crisis the country may be going through.

“When there is a major problem that especially involves the interests of the people, the Senate is looked upon as the body that will come up with a lasting and fair solution,” he said.

He explained that though the US government was made up of Republicans and Democrats, the structure too had its advantages and disadvantages.

Led by Senator Joseph Karemera, who also heads the Political Affairs Commission, the Senators took the opportunity to ask questions ranging from elections to the mandate of the Senate.

Karemera updated Ambassador Moore on the structure and functioning of the Senate saying that the differences between both countries were minimal.

“The differences perhaps lie in our duties which include the fight against the Genocide ideology, following up on the power sharing laws, and promoting equal rights among others,” he said

“Rwandans should know that democracy is not a particular size that fits all. It all depends on the background of the country”.

Karemera castigated those who make judgements about Rwanda without first doing their research.
“There is always talk that the government is hostile to political parties and yet most of these parties they are referring to lack the requirements set by the law. People tend to forget that we have 11 political parties operating in this country,” he said

Karemera called to mind that the government understands democracy and its principles and is very happy to see the country progress.

He asked those who question the government’s systems to remember that the systems are put in place by the constitution.

Ends

 

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