Having experienced lawmakers return to parliament will lead to constructive debates, experts said, yesterday, praising the Rwandese Patriotic Front for returning many incumbents as party flag bearers for the September 16 parliamentary elections.
RPF has 32 MPs in the Lower Chamber of Parliament. Of these, 24 returned as party flag bearers after Sunday’s primaries.
30 for re-election
Apart from the incumbents who went to Parliament on the party’s ticket in 2008 elections, nine other incumbents from RPF who went on the ticket of the women seats, the youth and the representative for people living with disabilities are also in the race to return to Parliament. Thus, more than 30 MPs from RPF are seeking re-election for another five-year term.
“In the developed world, MPs reappear and it is always a good sign because new figures learn from them,” Sheikh Khalfan Omar, a lecturer of political science at the National University of Rwanda, said.
Omar said the RPF electorate appreciated their MPs’ previous performance basing on the infrastructure development that is evident and the enforcement of the law, in which the role of the MPs cannot be ignored as such.
Denis Polisi, an MP and former Deputy Speaker of the Lower Chamber, also supported the idea of sending back incumbents. He did not seek re-election to Parliament.
“In big democracies, people spend 40 years in Parliament. To lose them means to losing experience,” Polisi said. “If MPs have good conduct, discipline and good knowledge of their work it is an asset to have them in Parliament.”
Willy Ndizeye, the mayor of Gasabo and district party chairperson, said it is an indication that RPF members still have trust in their representatives.
Ndizeye described Amb. Zeno Mutimura, who was elected from Gasabo, as an experienced cadre, and among the founder members of Rwanda African National Union that later became RPF.
“He diligently discharged all the duties he was previously entrusted with,” said Ndizeye.
However, the new figures seeking seats on RPF tickets are not essentially political novices. Eugene Barikana, for example, until last month was serving in the Prime Minister’s office as director of cabinet, Amb. Eda Mukabagwiza is also a tried-and-tested political broom, while Sheikh Swaleh Habimana, former mufti currently working at Rwanda Governance Board, while Fidele Rwigamba, was permanent secretary of Senate, both have experience in public administration.
On new figures seeking seats, François Xavier Mbabazi, the mayor of Ruhango District and party chairperson, said he is pleased that the voters considered voting candidates from all backgrounds.
Dr Anita Asiimwe, the chairperson of the coordinating committee of the RPF primaries, said the list of the candidates from district level is being assessed and it will be launched at the start of the electoral campaign, which is due on August 26.