FORMER MINISTER of Sports and Culture Robert Bayigamba is unopposed for the post of president of Rwanda National Olympic and Sport Committee race. Elections for the executive committee will be held on April 20.
The Ethics and Jurisdictions president in the local Olympic committee, who also doubles as the chairman of the election commission Philbert Rutagengwa, confirmed the development yesterday as he submitted the list of the shortlisted candidates.
He said, “This is the final list of all candidates, who will vie for the different positions on the executive committee of Rwanda National Olympic and Sport Committee.”
Four years ago, Bayigamba, a former national volleyball team player, was beaten to the position by Brig. Gen. Charles Rudakubana, who is not standing for re-election.
Bayigamba played for the national volleyball team for ten years as a setter from 1986-1997. He also played for Groupe Scolaire de Butare, National University of Rwanda, Kigali Volleyball Club formally known as Buhiri and Electrogaz before he played for Amasata volleyball club.
“I want to help federations secure their own sponsorships as well as clubs having their own finances instead of depending on the Government for everything,” he said.
“Developing talent from grassroots level is also an important aspect that my mandate will give full attention such that we can be able to participate and excel in global championships,” added Bayigamba.
Phophina Gashuhi Muhimpundu and Julienne Mukandekezi are contesting for the position of the first vice president, while Elie Manirarora and Ismael Bernard Uwimana will tussle it out for the position of the second vice president.
Parfait Busabizwa is seeking re-election for the Secretary General post but he must overcome Ahmed Habineza, while incumbent Treasurer Thierry Rwabusaza is battling to retain his post against Karate federation boss Théogène Uwayo.
Six people namely; Nicolas Dusine, Albert Kayiranga, Jean Paul Munyandamutsa, Felicite Rwemalika, Shyaka Kanuma and Ernestine Umulisa are set to battle for two advisors’ posts.
Officials from 28 sports federations and associations in Rwanda will take part in the elections.
According to the Olympic charter, elections are held the following year after the Olympic Games. The executive committee officials shall hold office for a term of four years.
Rutagengwa also confirmed that campaigns begin on Saturday (today) until April 20 when the elections will be held in a yet to be identified venue.
The incumbent Rwanda Olympic Committee leadership was elected into office in 2009 after months of animosity between the then Minister of Sports Joseph Habineza and the former president of the Olympic body Ignace Beraho.
Habineza disbanded Beraho’s executive committee for insubordination and refusal to relinquish power.
However, Gen. Rudakubana who campaigned for the scrapping of term limits in order to be voted again will miss the elections as he has gone abroad for further studies and is no longer in charge of the affairs of the committee.
This means that the new president will be entitled to a re-contest at the end of his term. The one-year renewable term limit was adopted in 1996.
Rudakubana’s tenure is blamed for the ragged display at the London Games where Rwanda fielded seven athletes – Adrien Niyonshuti (Mt. Bike), Jean Pierre Mvuyekure (men’s full marathon), Claudette Mukasakindi (women full marathon), Robert Kajuga (10,000m), Yannick Fred Sekamana (judo) and two swimmers in Alphonsine Agahozo and Jackson Niyomugabo.
Kajuga finished a respectable 14th in a strong 10,000m field in 27 minutes, 56.67 seconds, improving his personal best by seven seconds.
Inadequate preparation is the sole reason runners and swimmers and judo athletes never impressed. After that show, the federations are being tasked to vote into office leaders who can take Rwandan sport to the next level.