Elections: Get to know PSR

As the forthcoming Parliamentary elections reach its horizons, some Political Parties have joined forces with others that they felt had the same political ideology.

As the forthcoming Parliamentary elections reach its horizons, some Political Parties have joined forces with others that they felt had the same political ideology.

Recently, the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) announced the list of its Parliamentary candidates together with Coalition Parties that include Prosperity and Solidarity Party (PSP), Democratic Popular Union of Rwanda (UDPR), Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), Islamic Democratic Party (PDI), the Concord Progress Party (PPC) and the Rwandese Labour Party (PSR).

Dan Ngabonziza meets the Rwandese Labour Party (PSR) president and discovers why the party decided to join the coalition.

According to the party president, Jean Baptiste Rucibigango, (who is also on the list of candidates) who took its leadership in 2002, PSR has a similar political system with RPF.

He says that the Party did not wake up and find its self allying with RPF. Rucibigango replaced Dr. Medard Rutijanwa, the long serving and founder member of the party.

PSR has been in existence for the last twenty eight years.

“The party came into existence in early 1980s, when a group of Rwandan Students from within and out side the country revolted against the bad leadership that was prevailing at the time,” says Rucibigango.

They formed Rwandese Progressive Students Front, which greatly believed in socialism ideology and later acted as the foundation for the growth of the Rwandese Labour Party.   
This group of students, who often advocated for leadership change, later dispersed when some members joined the genocidaires while others were killed during the Genocide.

Rucibigango who was then an RPF senior Cadre in the early 1990s, thought a need to join forces with the remaining Party members and reconstruct the party that had a vision of solidarity among Rwandans.

Prior to the break off of the group, despite being curious to join the party, Rucibigango was much fueled by some African revolutionalists like Mozambican Samora Machel and Nkwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who struggled to liberate their countries from colonial rule.  

In 1994, Rucibigango was among the delegates that attended the Pan African-World movement summit held in Uganda’s capital city- Kampala. At this time, Rucibigango was working as a journalist on Radio Muhabura- an RPF Radio during the struggle.

At the summit, he got a chance to meet Dr. Medard Rutijanwa, who was the party President.

Rutijanwa held several talks with Rucibigango on how the party can be reconstructed to regain its lost vision.

Rucibigango agreed with Rutijanwa to join the party and returned back with an idea of applying from the RPF management to allow him become a PSR flag bearer.

He was given accreditation and immediately started gathering efforts of putting back the then disintegrated party.

PSR greatly participated in the signing of the Arusha peace agreement, according to Rucibigango, who was a parliamentarian in the recently dissolved House.

This agreement was a milestone to wards creating peace in the then troubled Rwanda, despite the fact that Genocide came behind its foot prints.

Few days after the Genocide, Rucibigango was appointed as an administration at the National Office of Information (ORINFOR), an institution he says he used to give proper support to his party.

In 1998, PSR was given two seats in the Transitional National Parliament.

Rucibigango was among the two MPs, which was followed by his appointment as the party president in 2002 elections.

Fourteen years down the road, the party has exhibited tremendous support towards joining hands with RPF in the effort to reconstruct the country which had been left in bad shape by the preceding governments. He says the party has vision that can not be left behind in supporting good governance and it is principle.

The seasoned journalist-cum-politician said during the interview that his party has always advocated for workers especially calling for citizens to get jobs befitting their profession.

Among its core principles, is training employees in different fields while imbedding into them the spirit of nationalism that will reduce brain drain as most Rwandan students who go for further studies abroad.

According to Rucibigango, PSR has made tremendous strides in promoting Rwanda’s education. The party has constructed three Secondary Schools in the country; two in Rulindo district in the Northern Province and another one in Nyaruguru District in the Southern Province.

The three constructed Schools accommodate more than 600 Students. It has about 24.000 members, with 14.000 corporate members most of who are from the Western Province.

The party has discovered it’s self in the coalition in which other parties will gain from its course of advocating for workers’ rights especially on the International Labour Day.