The New Times (Kigali)
13 September 2008
Posted to the web 13 September 2008
As we draw closer to the election date, political parties are tussling for mass support from Rwandans.
It seems voters are ready to choose who will lead them in the next term of office, come 15th September, when the 56 candidates present themselves for the parliamentary seats up for grabs.
Today, The New Times, brings to you the only independent candidate aspiring for political office, Harelimana Jean Marie Vianney.
"Our constitution allows every one to contest as a private candidate if he wishes to," Harelimana says.
Harelimana, who has never been part of any political party in Rwanda all his life, says that he has been a politician right from the beginning.
"I am a businessman and run a motto machine spare parts shop here in town. But I had always dreamtthat one day I would be a leader. I had wanted to stand as a candidate in 2003, but I couldn't due to lack of funds to facilitate my campaigns," says Harelimana.
Harelimana, says that he has followed the history of this country, and it partly compelled him to stand as a candidate so as to deal with questions that come from people because he believes that leadership is about dealing with issues which have roots in history.
"Leaders should know this nation's history. And that's what I am. I know much concerning this country that makes me an eligible aspiring candidate."
Harelimana, says that he has read books on the different leadership this country has gone through and which it has passed onto a number of governments, provided him with enough history on which he depends on, for what he aims to do for Rwandans.
I have four pillars on which my manifesto stands, and I hope Rwandans, will vote for me depending on these ideas that will see them earn a better leader that will result in a better Rwanda.
The first one is that youth cooperatives should be created and helped through trainings and financial support that will enable them to develop their standard of living, hence the over all development of the country and to ensure sustainable education for all Rwandans; to acquire skills and fight genocide ideologies in schools.
Secondly, Harelimana says that he wants to ensure the social welfare of all Rwandans as those committed to work to create their own jobs and be led through a strategy that does not contradict with the development of towns for a friendlier environment.
The third pillar is that he aims at ensuring justice and equal rights for all Rwandans. "I am ready to fight any injustice from where ever it comes from and try to ensure there is sensitization of Rwandans on how to desist from committing crime and avoid facing the long arm of the law."
The fourth and last pillar is that Harelimana wants to appreciate that justice is a way towards realizing vision 2020.
"I would ensure that leaders explain well to Rwandans their rights and the law as it is a good strategy for achieving all that is stipulated in vision 2020.
With the above pillars Harelimana hopes to get the vote that will see him in the next parliament.
Most of all the parties have symbols that voters will identify and vote for, private candidates have their symbols too. For Harelimana, as he is the only independent candidate his symbol is a star and sun with his name.
Harelimana, says that he has campaigned enough reaching out to people himself and using some other media strategies. However, he says that he has not held any rallies or public gatherings due to financial problems.
"We foot the bill alone. We provide for ourselves and always find it expensive to carry out such rallies," says Harelimana.
Harelimana, says that to go through this election, he only needs 5% of the total voters. This is approximately 245000 voters all over the country.
He is very confident that Rwandans will vote for him due to his good ideas that are aimed at changing Rwandan lives for good.
Harelimana, says his political ambition is greatly inspired by the role the late Levi Mwanawasa played in the politics of Zambia.
"Though he is gone now he has been my inspiration. He had knowledge to promote the economy of his country and knew how to make good foreign policies that facilitated the good relationship that his country enjoys with other countries. He will remain my inspiration and may his soul rest in peace," says Harelimana.
Harelimana is married to Gatesi Marrie Jeane and they have two kids for whom he has a responsibility of looking after as he finds a way into politics. He had studied education in the high institutions but says that politics was what he wanted to join and is ready to follow as has been his dream.
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