Green Party officially registered

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) has been formally registered by the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) in time to contest in the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for September 16.
Prof. Shyaka (R) and Green Party’s Ntezimana yesterday. Saturday Times/ John Mbanda.
Prof. Shyaka (R) and Green Party’s Ntezimana yesterday. Saturday Times/ John Mbanda.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) has been formally registered by the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) in time to contest in the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for September 16.

The party’s registration, yesterday, came after four years of struggle to fulfil the requirements for registration.

RGB CEO Prof. Anastase Shyaka handed over the licensing certificate to the party’s Secretary General Jean Claude Ntezimana during a brief event in Kigali.

“They submitted their request on July 26 but there were some elements missing in their request. On July 30, we advised them to fulfil the requirements and on, Wednesday, this week, we still realised there were other elements missing although we agreed that we should give them the license and they also promised to ensure everything is complete as a matter of urgency,” Prof Shyaka said, adding that his office worked hard to ensure that the Green Party acquires its license.

Shyaka reminded the party leaders about the constitutional provisions of how party officials should conduct themselves and how they should run their activities.

Ntezimana expressed excitement, saying they would abide by the laws.

The Green Party attempted to register in 2009 but failed due to internal controversies.

In 2010, the founder of the party, Frank Habineza left the country for Sweden where he stayed for two years.

Upon his return in September, last year, Habineza announced his intentions to register his party and run for a parliamentary seat in September.

In a telephone interview with Saturday Times yesterday, Habineza said he would now focus on his bid for a parliamentary seat.

“It has been a long journey, we are grateful that finally we have acquired a license. We have only three days to prepare a list of our parliamentary candidates and submit it to National Electoral Council (NEC) which is a very short time. So far we have not ruled out taking part in the parliamentary elections but we may as well request NEC to extend the deadline to give us a chance to compete,” said Habineza.

Looming deadline

The deadline for submission of candidatures is August 12, but DGPR plans to request NEC to extend the deadline by one week.

“There are requirements we need like the criminal records, the birth certificates and proof of residence which we need to get from offices that don’t work over the weekend. This leaves us with one day which is Monday making it impossible for us to submit all the requirements to NEC,” Ntezimana said in an interview.

However, NEC Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza,  told Saturday Times that  the option to extend the deadline was out of the question.

“We are in charge of elections not the registration of any particular political party and that’s why we can’t extend the deadline. However, there is still time for them to submit  their candidature if they find ways of getting all the documents this weekend, which is possible,” said Munyaneza.

 The DGRP is the youngest and 11th political party to be officially registered in Rwanda.

 As a key part of the formal registration process, a group that intends to form a political party must call for a founding congress.

 According to the law, the founding congress should be attended by at least 200 people.

 Such a group also needs to collect a minimum of 200 signatures of their members; with at least five people from every district of the country.

 And during the founding congress, the public notary has to verify the signatures to ensure they match with the individual identity.

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