NYAMASHEKE - The Mayor of Nyamasheke district, Vincent Muragwa, has denied that teachers in his district were forced to contribute to the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in the run up to the parliamentary elections.
He told The New Times that the only teachers who contributed to the RPF campaigns were RPF members and other well wishers who did it voluntarily.
Last Sunday, while President Paul Kagame was appearing live on ”Crossifre”, a talk show on Radio Contact Fm, a listener sent in an sms message complaining one-third of teachers’ meagre salaries had been deducted for the RPF campaigns. The person claimed that it was done without consulting the teachers.
According to Mayor Muragwa, teachers in various sectors teachers in Ruharambuga and Karengera sectors each Frw2,000 while other sectors paid between Frw1,000 and Frw6,000.
“Before contributing to the RPF campaigns in our district, teachers held meetings to decide what their contributions would be. Nobody was forced to pay the money because all teachers agreed to pay the money they can afford depending on their financial statuses” Muragwa told The New Times.
However, Muragwa noted that there was poor organization in the preparatory meetings to discuss the contribution issue between teachers and district management in some few areas.
He gave an example of Nyabitekeri sector where teachers were asked to pay as much as Frw12,000, which he explained could have sparked off the saga.
Speaking to primary and secondary school teachers who were drawn from Karengera, Ruharambuga and Busheli sectors at Ruharambuga sector on Thursday, Muragwa revealed that between Frw 5-6 millions had been collected from the teachers.
He said that the district management had decided that teachers be refunded their money to avoid rumours that they were forced to pay. Any teacher who wished to contribute to the RPF could do so individually.
“Contributing to RPF campaigns in our sector by primary and secondary teachers was done voluntarily and no one was forced or even told to any amount of money because we had already agreed with them (teachers) about how much each teacher would pay depending on their financial capability,” Andre Nsabimana, the chairman of RPF in Karengera sector told The New Times in Ntendezi cell.
Nsabimana added that rumours about teachers being forced to pay their election- contributions may be from negative forces who don’t want elections for RPF parliamentarians to go well.
A teacher from Karengera secondary school who preferred anonymity echoed Nsabimana’s statement “We paid our contributions voluntarily depending on everybody’s willingness and financial capacity and no one was forced as some rumours have it, but it is said that in some sectors they did not organize and do it correctly”.