Rwanda: Parliament Welcomes a Newcomer as Fighting in Congo Escalates
The New Times (Kigali)
12 October 2008
Posted to the web 13 October 2008
This week started off with the newly elected parliament voting for a speaker of the house.
At the end of the exercise it came as no surprise that legislators chose Rose Mukantabana to lead them, with 56 per cent of the members being women it makes sense that a woman leads.
Mukantabana garnered 70 votes out of the total 80, even though it is her first time in parliament.
Mukantabana is a renowned activist for vulnerable groups in Rwanda including children and women.
The commitment of the government to make Rwanda a favourite investment destination is well-known the world over. However, this commitment has so far not been matched by tangible reforms.
The Private Sector Federation has decided to advise government on what needs to be done to expand investments throughout the country.
These include hiring consulting firms to study: "What needs to be done?"
Strategic Business Partnerships for Growth in Africa (SBP), a South African firm hired at the beginning of the year for such purposes, last week presented some of their findings in a draft report to the PSF.
The full report will be made public soon. It is ironic however that the PSF hired a foreign firm to carryout the study having themselves lamented that central government was spending a lot of money on foreign consultancies at the expense of Rwandans.
Next door in Eastern DR Congo, President Joseph Kabila's government is up in attracting international sympathy for their failure to establish peace and stability in all its regions.
While battles between that government and its rebel groups especially in the eastern region of the country intensify, Kabila was quick to point his accusing finger at Rwanda, stating that Rwanda was responsible for the renewed war.
During the battles, it is a matter of confusion as who is fighting who as dissident rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, the 15000 UN peacekeeping force, the regular Congolese army and a myriad other rebel groups are all involved in the exchange of gunfire.
The Congolese government began accusing Rwanda after Nkunda whom they had earlier chased from some of his positions, reoganized and began chasing back the Congolese army.
The army in turn translated Nkunda's change of rhythm as Rwanda's assistance. Richard Sezibera, Rwanda's envoy to the Great Lakes region was quick to rubbish the claims.
Vote of confidence
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance also signed a pact with Rwanda's developing partners in which the donors committed more funds to supporting government's development programmes for the coming financial year.
The donors said they are very impressed with Rwanda's accountability in regards to aid utilization.
On the continent
In the same week and for the first time, the EU opened up a job centre in Mali to help Africans wanting to emigrate to Europe in search of greener pastures and jobs.
The centre, the EU said, will help prevent a large number of skilled Africans leaving the continent empty of skilled labour, and making the consultancy for capacity building a big industry on the continent.
Illegal immigrant labour is not the only issue that the EU was dealing with during the week. The worsening credit crunch is biting hard on the US economy and has fully engaged European economies as well.
The ministers are so worried by the unstable lending business that most government are now regulating the banking industry. In Iceland, the government declared itself bankrupt!
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