September will be a month of increasing hope and confidence for two countries scarred by decades of insecurity – Rwanda and Angola – when they go to the polls to elect their parliamentary representatives.
Rwanda’s parliamentarians are going to be elected September 15, and Angola’s started yesterday. For the latter it will be the first election since 1992, and as can be expected for a place that has had such a long hiatus in matters electoral, there were some hitches relating to delays in voting, and general disorganisation.
Every single African country that treads the path of democracy, peace and unity always receives applause and goodwill, especially those like Angola that have gone through long periods of devastating civil war. So it is with hope that we look on Angola, and her pride in conducting elections in a democratic manner becomes our pride too.
It becomes one more African country that gets onto the platform of democratic countries and lessens the sneers and contemptuous references that always follow mention of Africa by the west that has had a longer tradition of democracy and polls.
For Angola, the war should be considered totally ended as it did in 2002, and the current government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) should seek a reconciliatory path with the other parties, especially UNITA (Union for the Total Independence of Angola), the major opposition.
There is no harm in studying Rwanda’s accommodative stance in searching for lasting solutions to achieving peace in the country. In this way, even the tension that is inherent in the countryside during the elections, especially in former strongholds of UNITA, could be allayed. The government has an opportunity to choose to lead the country to another level of development.
As for Rwanda, this being its second parliamentary poll, should just ensure that it builds on the gains of the last House, and the electoral commission should conduct its affairs in the most transparent and orderly manner as to continue giving Rwanda credit for doing business the way it should be done.