The New Times (Kigali)
23 September 2008
Posted to the web 23 September 2008
The trend of Rwandan elections clearly represent changed socio-political dynamics on the country's reconstruction efforts and the citizens spirit of national patriotism.
Emerging from past regimes that failed to ensure political calm and unite a people with a common heritage, share a national language that is now truthfully representative of a people with a common belonging.
Rwandan politics have come a long way, over-coming hurdles of seething ethnic rivalry that saw many Rwandans run off to exile while others assumed the brand of roaming refugees as they dreaded the borders of their motherland.
Then came the horrific Tutsi genocide that spoke volumes about the country's divisive past, whose foundation was anchored on ethnicity, dictatorship and disenfranchisement of political opponents.
Recently, the election stage was again set for yet another political scuffle amongst those who thought were fit for leadership positions, presenting yet another political challenge for the current government, to deliver a credible election.
Most international observers got accreditation to monitor the pre-election process at least six weeks in advance, these included; the European Union [EU], African Union [AU] and the East African Community [EAC].
With the atmosphere under strict observation, a government in power could not risk its political credibility by using dubious methods to outwit the competitor.
But a common national chorus went on during the elections-"vote wisely." Indeed Rwandan's rose to the occasion hearkening to the random slogan.
Rwanda scored a first in the women's elections that spoke much about a regime's clarity on women's emancipation. Out of the just ended parliamentary elections, women scooped 56.2 percent of the 80 parliamentary seats thus setting a new global record amongst gender sensitive nations presenting a challenge to others.
Furthermore, the elections provided special consideration for the disabled to express their voting rights and secure representation in parliament. The youth too elected their representatives to the August-House.
Should this be a surprise?
The conduct of the elections demonstrate the functionality of the principle of democracy and good governance. But the outcome of the election seems to have been easily determinable.
In comparison to the past ravages of not only the economy but the people who seemed irreconcilable as they ailed with genocide trauma.
With immense efforts to curb the post traumatic effects of the genocide, healing is taking a systematic trend on the economy and the people- there are many smiling faces detached from a gruesome past.
Political comfort has wholesomely returned to the country boosting economic growth to global rankings as Rwanda is among the fastest growing countries, in 2007 recorded an economic growth of 7 percent.
A previously down trodden private sector is reaching for greater heights through an aggressive capacity building programme aimed at guiding the country's economy to better development.
Should it be surprising that the election success is favorably swerving to the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) government?
Rwanda's previous insecurities have been diminished by visible assurances of a stable economy and political system. Most of them are reaping from the politically stable atmosphere.
Agricultural production especially in the coffee industry is reaching for greater global economic heights. Just between the months of January to June, 2008, the country recorded coffee sales valued at USD 26 million.
Also, one can't fail to mention technological advancements made possible by a visionary government with sound principles fuelling a noticeably prosperous economy.
Rwanda is thus slowly becoming the Information Communication Technology (ICT), hub of the region.
The RPF stands out without question. The party encompasses unbeatable success in the history of Rwanda with past regimes ignoring crucial nationa building elements, investing instead in repression and corruption.
Banking on the foundation of unity and reconciliation the RPF was able to motivate people to work as one and rebuild from the remains of the genocide.
And this has been achieved through meticulous strategies that have quelled the past disunity to form uniting entities like cooperatives that have united people under the same umbrellas of significance culminating into economic benefits.
With other parties surfacing mostly during the time of elections, RPF's national presence has been consistent as it continues to fulfill its set economic targets.
Should the opposition express surprise?
Their past exploits are unknown. With no convincing assurances to draw attention they shouldn't have invested much hope least of all be surprised the end result.
The observers' formal arrival before campaigns took off was appropriate but with the emerging results they did the easiest job in Rwanda unlike if they had been sent to observe Zimbabwean elections.
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