The bringing down to only five from an initial twelve the number of regional local administrative units – provinces – will not affect the number of women parliamentarians. This is because Ministry of local Government and the National Electoral Commission have forwarded to the Head of State for approval a proposal which aims at maintaining the 24 exclusively women legislative assembly slots.
The last time the nation went for parliamentary polls, there were twelve prefectures of Gikongoro, Kibuye, Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Byumba and Butare. Others were Gitarama, Cyangugu, Kibungo, Umutara, Outer Kigali and Kigali City. Back then every prefecture submitted two women MPs.
Now we instead have in place Southern Province, Eastern Province, Northern Province, Western Province and Kigali City, after the re-demarcations brought about by the administrative reforms of 2004 more than halved the number.
In women, Rwanda has found such huge potential yet to be discovered by many other countries. Their relatively more peaceful nature, less corruptible, less rebellious, less rigid when need for change arises and far more productive in Africa’s still predominantly agricultural economies make them a must have, and in good numbers, at the high tables of governance.
For example, Rwanda recently elected eight members from the national assembly and sent them as representatives to the East Africa Legislative Assembly. This time the national parliament decided to throw out of the window whatever remained of any male chauvinism by sending five women and only three men.
Word coming from the regional parliament so far is that our team has proved a hit, making instant impression by way of adding grit to progressive positions which were already held by some old members of the assembly, but which were in dire need of consolidation.
This development serves as the latest strong supporting pillar to the various heavily women-leaning policies espoused by Rwanda. No wonder then that government is determined to stay firmly focused on the gender equality road, no matter the administrative or any other changes.