Independent Mwenedata uses corruption fight to woo voters

Independent parliamentary hopeful Gilbert Mwenedata has said he will advocate for more public awareness about people’s rights and laws that protect their interests as a way of fighting corruption.

Independent parliamentary hopeful Gilbert Mwenedata has said he will advocate for more public awareness about people’s rights and laws that protect their interests as a way of fighting corruption.

He made the statement on Tuesday in Kigali at his second news briefing since he launched his campaign last month.

Although Mwenedata recognises the government’s efforts in fighting corruption, he said more needs to done to curb abuse of public trust, bring in more transparency in the hiring of public servants, and use more diplomatic means to rally ordinary people behind development programmes.

“If people can understand their rights, that would be the most important thing,” he said, responding to a reporter’s question about what he considered to be the biggest challenge in fighting corruption.

Pledging to advocate for more efforts in educating the public, he said things in Rwanda would be working in a more transparent way if most people were familiar with their rights.

“We need to educate our people about laws that concern them. The best way to serve is to respect and promote people’s interests,” Mwenedata said.

There have been complaints in the past about local officials who force people to pay their health insurance on time, and how to treat people to ensure that they do what is in their own interest remains a challenge.

But Mwenedata said it is incumbent upon officials to devote time and resources in educating people on why it is important for them to pay health insurance in time instead of rushing to implement the policy.

Mwenedata has been building his political agenda around an anti-corruption stance.

Four little-known independent candidates, including Venuste Bizirema, Léonille Mutuyimana, Clovis Ganza and Mwenedata are competing in the category of 53 openly contested seats in the parliamentary elections.

To make it to Parliament, each independent candidate and political party has to garner at least 5 per cent of the national vote. 

Yesterday, Mwenedata exuded confidence, showing a glimmer of signs that he could become the first independent candidate win a seat in Parliament since 2003 when the Constitution was promulgated.

“People keep encouraging me that I’m not alone,” he said.

Mwenedata started his campaigns outside the City of Kigali, on Tuesday, in a tour that will see him address voters in select parts of the country.

He addressed supporters in Huye District on Tuesday, where he outlined his priorities as reconciliation, transparency and Rwandan values.

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