GASABO - The sole independent parliamentary candidate, Jean Marie Vianney Harerimana, has said that he is confident he will make it to the august House in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
If Harerimana could ever have a slogan, it would be ‘For a new Rwanda, a new voice is necessary. I promise that I will be that voice.’
Contesting for a Parliament seat, he has declared himself an independent candidate, closing down all other businesses and committing himself to the campaigns.
Speaking during his visit to The New Times offices, Harerimana unveiled his tactical strategies that would lead him to Parliament. Despite standing against established and firm political parties, he is confident he of beating some.
Harerimana, 31, is a business man operating in Gatsata, a Kigali City suburb and married with two children.
Speaking of his motivation to contest for a seat in Parliament, Harerimana said that he always had a dream of joining the parliament and represent Rwandans views.
“I have much knowledge of our country’s history and in my view, I think there is much that went wrong and must be corrected. That is why I want Rwandans to vote for me and I join my brains with others in building our nation,” he said.
Harerimana believes that political parties in the country have maintained a proper line though he claims he has never belonged to any.
“Rwanda got independence but never got liberated until RPF intervened and liberated the country. From then on, lots of efforts are needed to rebuild the country. That is why I put civic education of youths on top of my campaigning agenda,” he revealed.
He also said that in his manifesto, he put on top establishment of cooperatives for poverty eradication, emphasis of justice and fighting against impunity. He emphasized that the perpetrators of the Genocide have to face justice.
“I personally witnessed the Genocide though I was helpless by then. However, whoever took part in it should be punished. None of them should escape justice,” he said.
Harerimana’s father was beaten to death in 1990 because he was suspected of being an RPF spy. Back on his manifesto, he also said that he put into consideration the social welfare of Rwandans.
Asked to give assurance of how he will make it to Parliament, Harerimana said that he believes his ideas would impress many Rwandans and his campaign team is determined to make him win come Election Day.
According to the law, an independent candidate is required to get at least 5 percent of the total votes (200,000 votes) and Harerimana is confident that he will get even more than required.
“I managed to get 650 signatures from my close friends only; I was able to get as many delegates as possible and I am sure getting 200,000 votes won’t be a challenge to me,” he said.
Harerimana has two expectations from the election.
“My first expectation is that I will enter Parliament with over 5 percent threshold. My second expectation is that many people who support laws of this country will have a seat in Parliament alongside me. Given this, some steps toward development can be taken in Rwanda.”
He also believes that Rwanda’s biggest problem is poverty and he says that solving this problem means primarily boosting our economy, in its budget.
“In order to be able to create firm areas of work, it is necessary to encourage local and foreign investors and the public sector to boost their investments.
He said that with the blessing from God and Rwandans he will serve his country to the fullest and ensure that Rwanda successively achieves development.
Like the national calendar stated, Harerimana also started the campaigns on Monday and according to him, he started by drafting his campaigning calendar and speaking to the media.
Asked how much money he is planning to use when he starts serious campaigning, Harerimana said that his initial budget was Frw 9.6 million but he has not yet managed to get the amount.
He did not reveal the exact amount he has at hand for him to use during the campaigns. He however revealed that he is currently constrained by the budget but believes he would still make it with or without the necessary funding.
“It is not money that is going to take me to Parliament, neither am I going there to work for money; it’s Rwandans that will decide on taking me to Parliament or not and when I happen to get there, I will be serving them, not making money,” he said.
Asked whether he expected financial assistance from somewhere, he said that so far he has no hopes of getting any financial support from anywhere.
Harerimana said: “NEC provides us with trainings on how to conduct ourselves during the elections but they were supposed to realize that I am the only independent parliamentary candidate contesting against firm and well-established political parties with big budgets and provide me with financial backup.”
Harerimana’s symbol is a yellow star and a brown sun which he interpreted as symbols of light. If he manages to make it to the House, he will be the first independent candidate to win a parliamentary seat in Rwanda.