Ethnic wrangles take centre stage
KIGALI - Prosperity and Solidarity Party (PSP), a local political party, is rocked by deep controversies among its followers over the leadership of the party.
PSP was headed by former Senator Stanley Safari who fled the country to avoid a Gacaca trial for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Safari was subsequently found guilty and sentence to life in absentia.
Close to 50 members of the party met over the weekend to elect a new executive body. The function was monitored by representatives of the Ministry of Local Government, Forum of Political Parties and the National Police.
As the elections went on, Jean Baptiste Nsanganira, the acting president of PSP in the Southern Province convened another meeting outside the hall where elections were being conducted and issued a statement refuting the elections.
The statement addressed to the press indicates that there were irregularities in inviting party members to elect the new leaders.
“We don’t give credit to whatever came out as results of the election and whoever was elected,” Nsanganira told The New Times during an interview.
He added that he has written to several authorities stating his grievances and that he intends to keep on the battle against the new leadership.
One of the letters, whose copy that The New Times obtained, was delivered to the Ministry of Local Government and Forum for Political Parties on July 29 calling on the organs to halt the party’s General Assembly.
He claims the the majority of the party followers on his side who have vowed to support him during his fight against the new leadership.
Results of the elections indicate that Phoebe Kanyange was elected the new president of the party replacing Safari. Others elected include Isidore Nsengiyumva the first vice president and Thacienne Uwimana the second vice president.
The newly elected party leader Kanyange refuted Nsanganira’s allegations saying that every party member was invited for the election particularly Nsanganira.
“I learnt that he was outside the hall as we conducted the elections, we called him to come inside but he refused; we wanted him to be confirmed as the party president in the southern province, or even promoted, but he deliberately refused,” said Kanyange.
She accused Nsanganira of harboring the genocide ideology accusing him of malicious intentions of splitting the party.
“He is on record pushing forward his ethnicity-based ideas, he has always said that PSP has to be led by a Hutu and not a Tutsi; this is something we want to eliminate in this party.”
She however added that the party has assigned Member of Parliament Dumas Alexandre Ashinzwuwera to follow up Nsanganira and ensure that he is ‘a changed man.’
“We are not going to throw him out of the party, he will be dealt with by the disciplinary committee,” noted the new party president.
In a new twist, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Eugene Barikana also blamed the party for inciting divisionism on the basis of ethnicity.
“This party has two factions of which one is made up ardent followers of Safari and are characterized by the Genocide ideologies,” said Barikana.
“Those against the election just want to cause chaos because we held lengthy meetings advising them on their upcoming party congress and came up with an agreement which that faction refused to adopt.” He added;
Asked what would be the way forward if the two factions do not unite, Barikana said that in case they pose any kind of insecurity, the Senate will take necessary measures.
According to the law, the Senate cannot ban a party, but can instead files a lawsuit in the Supreme Court which is the only organ with the powers to ban a party.
Meanwhile, PSP controversies cropped up following a report presented to the Senate by Senator Joseph Karemera exposing Genocide ideologies in the party.
The report indicated that former Senator Safari steered divisionism and genocide ideologies within the party.
“The party was divided into two factions and one of them was headed by Safari who fled the country and is on record having said that for his party to be registered he had to enlist many Tutsis,” Karemera said while presenting the report to the Senate a month ago.
Safari’s faction is alleged by their opponents of having strongly criticized all government policies and inciting hate based on ethnicity within the party.
Meanwhile, last month, the Senate gave PSP a grace period of three months to solve their internal wrangles.