Tagged: Governance

It Is Economic Development That Demonstrates Government’s Respect for Human Rights


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Analysis

by Richard KARUGARAMA Lebero

14/03/2014

On 7th April, Rwanda marks 20 years since the 1994 genocide. A lot has been written about Rwanda’s journey and, as is to be expected, much of the commentary is misleading, lacking sufficient understanding of the extent to which Rwanda has been transformed over the last 20 years.

This year’s theme – unite, remember and renew – aptly reminds us to commit ourselves towards ensuring that genocide never happens in any part of the world.

We also have the opportunity to reflect on Rwanda’s transformation and deliberate upon the lessons post conflict countries can draw from its resilience.

The narrative of Rwanda’s past is one of anger and pain. Starting from the colonial period and stretching up to the 1994 genocide,Rwanda was a deeply divided society entrenched with the scourge of ethnic politics and bad leadership.

Although the colonialists did not invent the Hutu and Tutsis ethnic identities (historically the labels existed), colonial intervention changed the meaning, practice and importance attached to these labels.

Following the 1994 genocide, modern Rwanda articulated and implemented a vision of co-existence between Hutus, Tutsis and Twa which emphasizes the virtues of being Rwandan.

The dividends from collective reconciliation and nation rebuilding have resulted in unprecedented social, economic and political transformation.

Rwanda’s rebirth is by all measures remarkable considering that for over five decades it was characterized by systemic governance failures, authoritarian rule, entrenched ethnic tensions, corruption and a spiral of extra judicial killings.

Indeed, the failure of state institutions to galvanise citizens into productive means of labour and the use of government structures as instruments of social disharmony, culminated in the horrors of 1994 and the loss of one million lives.

Twenty years after the genocide Rwanda is experiencing significant improvement in poverty levels, women and youth empowerment, transparency and accountability, democratic governance, respect for the rule of law and a profound mindset shift towards self-reliance.

The depth of reforms and the increasing levels of efficiency are well captured in numerous governance and business surveys conducted periodically by reputable institutions.

On the basis of the reforms, Rwanda ranks favorably across most indicators. For instance, in the 2014 World Bank ‘Doing Business Report’, Rwanda is ranked as the second most improved country in the world and the second easiest place to do business in Africa.

Despite evident improvement in social well being, modern Rwanda regularly witnesses unprecedented attacks – some commentators arguing that economic development has been achieved at the expense of human rights.

Historically, this type of commentary is not unprecedented and is well illustrated by the experience of Singapore – once accused of trading off human rights for economic prosperity.

But Singapore’s journey from third world to first world country demonstrates that the one size fit all approach to democracy and human rights barely makes a dent in the challenge of improving the material state of people’s lives.

As Professor Kishore Mahbubani correctly argues, economic development is the only force with the power to liberate the Third World. In essence, human rights can only be enjoyed when people are liberated from the scourge of hunger, insecurity, disease and poverty.

It is also too simplistic to argue that emerging countries such as Rwanda are advancing economically at the expense of human rights. The premise of this argument overlooks the fact that strides in economic development are intertwined with respect for human rights.

The two are not mutually exclusive as there can be no economic development without the respect and protection of fundamental freedoms.

The philosophical underpinning of human rights is both controversial and ambiguous because protection of fundamental rights means different things in different parts of the world.

The most recent Gallup poll best illustrates this point; it ranks Rwanda as the safest place to live in Africa with 92% of ordinary Rwandans feeling safe and secure. Additionally, the poll shows that among African countries, Rwanda is the safest place for women to flourish.

Even without the Gallup survey, Rwanda’s respect for gender equality is unprecedented – 64% of Rwanda’s parliament is constituted by women (the highest globally). Moreover, the Constitution stipulates that for all leadership positions, women must constitute a minimum of 30%.

The trust and confidence ordinary Rwandans place in state institutions to guarantee security, law and order extends to other important rights such as privacy, life and dignity which are cornerstones of human existence.

It is only through guaranteeing respect for the rule of law and a peaceful environment that people are able to freely exercise their right to dignity, privacy, life and freedom of expression.

Put succinctly, personal liberties do not operate in a vacuum – such rights are meaningless without a certain level of development. Indeed, over the last twenty years, modern Rwanda has strived to lift ordinary people out of poverty because only when people have been liberated from it can they fully enjoy personal liberties.

 

Source: African Arguments

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Rwanda’s Twitter-Gate – the Disinformation Campaign of Africa’s Digital President


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Analysis

by Susan THOMPSON

17/03/2014

As Rwanda prepares to mark the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 genocide, it has found itself in an unprecedented diplomatic crisis. The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front has all but claimed responsibility for the murder of its former Spy Chief Patrick Karegeya in Johannesburg in January.

More recently, the South African government has accused Rwandan diplomats of a third bungled attempt on the life of the country’s former army chief Kayumba Nyamwasa.

The State Department scolded the government of President Paul Kagame for the attempt. The South African government then expelled three Rwandan diplomats, and is considering ending formal diplomatic ties with Rwanda.

Foreign journalists reporting on the attack on Nyamwasa raised the ire of President Kagame. On March 7, Radio France International journalist Sonia Rolley was subject to misogynistic harassment from the account of @RichardGoldston. American freelancer Steve Terrill came to Rolley’s defense, resulting in a series of mocking tweets from the account of Rwanda president @PaulKagame himself, not the @RichardGoldston to which Terrill (@steveinafrica) had directed his Tweets.

A week later, on March 15, Terrill was denied entry into Rwanda. The denial appears politically-motivated as Terrill broke the story that someone in the office of the Rwandan president also had access to the @RichardGoldston account.

The @RichardGoldston account trolled Twitter for any sign of criticism of Kagame or the RPF, and regularly harassed and demeaned Twitter users that criticized the government.

On March 8, the official Twitter account of the Office of the Rwandan President (@UrugwiroVillage) tweeted that the @RichardGoldston account had been deleted and the staff member responsible for the account had been “reprimanded”.

Rwanda’s Twitter-gate raises questions about the central role of RPF Twitter-trolls in calling out foreign journalists who seek to hold it to account for its excesses at home and abroad.

President Kagame’s reactionary tweets provide insight into the political reality behind his government’s carefully crafted narrative that Rwanda is a nation rehabilitated from the ruin of the 1994 genocide. Twitter-gate is also illustrative of the harassment and intimidation to which critics of the RPF regime regularly experience.

Twitter-gate is the first crack in the armor of the RPF’s longstanding disinformation campaign that has relied on Western exchange students, public relations firms, commemorative events, and a whole host of other techniques to craft an idealized and often invented version of what Rwanda was like before the onset of colonialism and what it has become since the 1994 genocide.

Since 2009, the RPF has worked with American and British PR specialists whose primary task is to drown out the voices of foreign critics and bury evidence of the RPF’s human rights abuses under rosy language about political stability, economic growth, and the stated intention of helping the poor.

In January, Rwanda launched the Kwibuka20 campaign, from inside Kagame’s office of course, for the same instrumental reason: to substitute the trope of genocide for the trope of authoritarianism in narratives about Rwanda.

The disinformation strategy is simple: ensure maximum international sympathy and donor dollars and a minimum of international inquiry into the government’s denial of liberties and human rights abuses.

The Kagame-led regime has a penchant for U.S. visits and visitors, and until recently successive U.S. administrations turned a blind eye to massive human rights violations for which the Kagame-led regime, according to the United Nations, is responsible in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Americans in particular have been taken in by the rhetoric of reconstruction, development, and reconciliation that invariably accompanies most public events in the country.

The RPF frames itself for Western audiences as the political party best able to move Rwanda towards a Western-style democracy because it has regularly held presidential and parliamentary elections.

The RPF handily won the most recent round of parliamentary elections, in September 2013, with 76% of the vote. In theory, it was contending with nine other parties. In practice, Rwanda’s nearly six million voters had little choice on the ballot. A total of 98% of the votes went to the RPF and its four coalition parties.

The continued dominance of the RPF in the electoral realm projects a semblance of political pluralism while masking the fact that all parties are expected to acquiesce to the ruling party. Two actual opposition parties have been banned and their leaders jailed.

Another pillar of Rwanda’s disinformation campaign is that the government promotes gender-equality. 64% percent of parliamentarians in Rwanda’s lower house are women, but this number masks reality. Although women are very visible in Rwanda politics, their ability to shape the future of women, ironically, is circumscribed. Rwanda’s parliament has limited influence.

Parliamentarians – be they male or female – actually have little power to legislate on behalf of their constituents. They have little room to develop policy or even to debate openly; space for free and open political expression is limited. Put differently, an assessment of political realities shows that women parliamentarians in Rwanda are mere accessories of power; they do not actually wield any of it.

Though the genocide has not repeated itself, growing socio-political and economic inequalities – notably the exclusion of youth – under an increasingly authoritarian and repressive government have meant that post-genocide Rwanda is still deeply entangled in its violent past. Rwandans deserve better from their American friends.

Rwanda’s Twitter-gate also reminds us that, on this 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, we should not allow our generally rosy perception of Rwanda as a stable and free country under the visionary leadership of President Kagame to mask long-standing political tensions, unresolved resentments, and the rise of an authoritarian regime.

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Susan M. Thomson is Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University in the United States. She is author of Whispering Truth to Power: Everyday Resistance to Reconciliation in Postgenocide Rwanda (Wisconsin University Press, 2013).

Amazon: “Whispering Truth to Power: Everyday Resistance to State Power in Postgenocide Rwanda” (Wisconsin UP, 2013)

Source: African Arguments

Related articles:

Daily Maverick

16/03/2014

How to spread Rwandan propaganda, and intimidate opponents? Twitter, of course.

Last week, a few unfortunate clicks revealed to the world that the Twitter account of Rwandan President Paul Kagame is run by the same person who spews pro-Rwanda propaganda under the handle @RichardGoldston. The faux Goldston is, of course, allowed to be a lot less guarded than Kagame himself, and a trawl through his Twitter cache offers up a few revelations – none of which are complimentary toward South Africa. No wonder SA-Rwanda relations are at an all-time low. By SIMON ALLISON

[read full article]

Rwanda’s Peacekeeping Operations – a Poisoned Pill That Blackmails the West


OPINION

by Theogene RUDASINGWA

30.1.2014

Rwanda’s leader uses UN peace missions to maintain the dictatorship in Kigali and to enhance his formidable global financial and criminal network that liquidates his opponents

President Paul Kagame has come to love United Nations peacekeeping operations. This is ironic since he hates the United Nations, and does not actually believe in peacekeeping. It is now an unwritten rule that the West (mostly the US and UK) will ask Rwanda to participate in UN peacekeeping missions, and Kagame will kindly oblige.

Photo: Rwandan peacekeepers serving with UNAMID escort IDPs on their return from an IDP camp to their original village in Sehjanna, near Kutum, North Darfur, July 2011. Source: un.org

What is the deal?

First, the West will not shed the blood of their sons and daughters for Africans. They need their favourites like Kagame to do the job for them. Hence, Rwanda’s troops can now be found in Darfur, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Haiti. Rwanda’s officers, some of them notorious human rights abusers, are the most favoured when it comes to leading United Nations peacekeeping missions. The unspoken thought from Washington and London seems to be ‘Africans are killing Africans, who cares even if African murderous dictators like Kagame pretend to keep an illusive peace?’

Second, Kagame needs these ‘gifts of love’ from the West. He needs something to occupy his increasingly restless Tutsi army. If they are not in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they should be somewhere else.

Third, Kagame has made a fortune out of peacekeeping. His family and clique pockets most of money that should otherwise go to the Rwandan officers and men in these UN missions. Through the Horizon Group ( controlled by Rwanda’s military and intelligence), alongside Crystal Ventures ( Kagame’s financial empire that controls most of Rwanda’s economy), he gets money directly from the UN system, and indirectly from taxpayers in the West. With vast resources, Kagame has built a global financial and criminal network to liquidate any of his opponents, be they Rwandans or heads of states of other countries.

Fourth, by having his troops in these peacekeeping missions, Kagame can always blackmail the West into silence, inaction and protection when it comes to calls for accountability for his horrendous human rights abuses. All that Kagame has to do is to threaten to withdraw Rwandan troops from UN peacekeeping missions. In 2010, when the UN Mapping Report chronicled his war crimes, crimes against humanity and even possible ‘acts of genocide’ in the DRC, Kagame threw a tantrum, and threatened to withdraw his troops from Darfur. The next day, UN Secretary General embarked on a pilgrimage to Kigali to pay homage to Kagame. The report was shelved, joining many others that tell the sad story of unaccounted crimes by Kagame and his clique before and since 1994.

Fifth, Kagame has come to believe that he is indispensable to the West, in war-prone and far-flung hot spots that are still viewed as the dark continent. Through Kagame’s deployments in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, Western military and intelligence establishments have proxy eyes and ears on the ground. Occasionally, Washington and London will timidly voice their concerns as in the M23 saga in DRC, or the assassination of Patrick Karegeya in South Africa, but the hard-nosed analysts will insist Kagame is still their man.

As in 1994, it will take another civil war, more bloodshed, regional instability and the demise of the Kigali regime for Washington and London to wake up to the new national and geopolitical realities. When that happens, Washington and London, like Paris before them, will hopefully learn that even powerful nations can be wrong, be on the wrong side of history, and knowingly help inflict damage on poor nations.

* Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa is President Paul Kagame’s former envoy to Washington and now an opposition leader in exile in the US.

 

Source: allAfrica.com

Kagame calls for end to genocide militia group


 

(Reporter’s name unknown)

31.1.2014

Photo: President Kagame (centre in glasses) in a group photo with other Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa yesterday. The New Times/ Village Urugwiro.

President Paul Kagame has called for an immediate end to the continuous impunity of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (F DLR) militia, operating in eastern DR Congo.

The President was speaking at the opening of the 22nd Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa yesterday.

His remarks followed a discussion and presentation of various reports, including the report by the Peace and Security Council.

“Despite the welcome agreement signed between the government of DRC and M23, an armed group behind the 1994 Genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, the FDLR, remains untackled, even though it is the bedrock of instability in our region. Rwanda requests this gathering to urge and follow up the end of the FDLR threat to Rwanda and the region,” the head of state said.

Kagame underscored the importance of Africa solving its peace and security issues across the continent.

“There is increasing evidence of Africa’s genuine commitment to manage our own security crises. But a lot more could be done, if together, we redoubled our efforts to confront instability; the single biggest obstacle to the prosperity we all aspire to,” he said.

President Kagame also urged all member states to keep in mind the central purpose of peacekeeping missions.

Genocide a reminder of reality

His call comes amid an ongoing conflict in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

“Whatever the stated mandate, the protection of civilians should always be at the heart of our interventions. In Rwanda, we learned the hard way that this seemingly evident principle does not always translate into corresponding behaviour on the ground. The 1994 Genocide that we commemorate this year for the 20th time is one important reminder of this reality,” Kagame said.

Rwanda has contributed peacekeepers to several countries, including Sudan, South Sudan and, more recently, Central African Republic.

Yesterday’s discussion was preceded by a hand over ceremony of the AU chairmanship from Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.

In his handover speech, Prime Minister Hailemariam thanked all African Union members for their support and urged them to work towards a dignified Africa.

 

“Let us strive to achieve our collective vision of a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa.”

 

President Kagame, who is accompanied by First Lady Jeannette Kagame and Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo, later held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam.

Contact email: editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

source: The New Times

Kagame receives US Senators, Congressmen


NEWS OF RWANDA

25.1.2014

Photo: Kigali-President Paul Kagame, on Saturday received a delegation of six US senators and Congressmen at Serena Hotel in Kigali. (News of Rwanda)

The delegation, led by Senator James Inhofe from Oklahama State, is in the country for a three-day visit.

Speaking to reporters shortly after meeting with the President, Sen. James Inhofe said that they held discussions with President Kagame on different issues but particularly the progress the country has made as well as Rwanda’s continued role in peacekeeping missions in the region.

“We have been to the countryside and the transformation of this country is incredible. You can’t see it in other countries. We commend Rwanda’s role in peace building and peace creation in the region; in South Sudan, and especially in the Central African Republic. I speak on behalf many fellow Senators; the USA doesn’t have a better friend than Kagame,” he said.

Sen. Inhofe added that he personally organized the visit mainly to introduce his fellow US representatives to Rwanda.

During the visit, the delegation met and held talks with ministers of Defence and Trade, as well as officials from the office of Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs.

Sen. Inhofe specified that his delegation appreciated a briefing given by the Minister of Defence on peace and security in the Great Lakes region in general and particularly in Central African Republic.

Among other things, the delegation also held talks with Minister of Trade on the prospects to increase trade between Rwanda and United States.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mary Baine said that among the key trade prospects to be facilitated will be promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

Rwanda is an eligible member of Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) – a programme designed to assist the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa and improve economic relations between the United States and the region.

We Must Choose Actions Over Words, Says Kagame


 

by  Ivan R. MUGISHA,

21.1.204

Photo: President Kagame addresses participants at the Kenya Governors’ Summit organised by the Nation Media Group in Naivasha, Kenya, yesterday. Kagame urged African leaders to do more for the common citizens than to talk. ((Source: The New Times/ Village Urugwiro)

President Paul Kagame has said Africans and their leaders need to work hard to ensure the continent’s rightful place on the global stage.

He was speaking yesterday in Naivasha, Kenya at an event dubbed the ‘Governors’ Summit’ organised by the Nation Media Group-an occasion that gave the country’s governors an opportunity to take stock of the last eight months they have been in power under a devolved governance system.

The President said for Africans to claim their rightful place on matters that concern the continent and the world at large, they need to spend more time on actions than words.

“People speak of the African renaissance or Africa Rising – all these mean a lot and I want to believe them. But I ask myself hard questions, like why wasn’t the previous one Africa’s century? What stopped Africa from claiming its rightful place during past periods?” he posed.

The Rwandan leader added: “There are more meaningful things to be done than to be said. We need to do more; be honest with ourselves, and have the courage to face our challenges upfront.

“We have to make sure we fulfill the hope Africans have for our continent.”

Kagame hailed the East African Community (EAC), for placing the interests of its citizens right at the heart of the regional integration agenda.

But he urged regional leaders to do more.

“The overwhelming positive reaction from our citizens in this framework of cooperation is proof that we have common aspirations that transcend our individual countries. The people of East Africa want to trade together and to get opportunities that come with strengthening regional collaboration. It is up to the leaders to find ways to deliver on these expectations.”

Kagame said that leaders in the region had a duty to be accountable to individuals beyond their respective borders in order to enhance EAC integration process.

Kagame shared Rwanda’s governance and decentralisation experience following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and encouraged Kenya’s county government to place more emphasis on homegrown solutions that prioritise the wellbeing and aspirations of the people of Kenya.

He said interventions that respond to the unique situations of a country and the needs of its people deliver development visions faster.

Kagame also took questions in an interactive question-and-answer session which touched on his personal journey into top leadership positions and how Rwanda managed to forge ahead after suffering from the most brutal genocide in recorded history – the infamous 100 days of slaughter that claimed the lives of more than a million people.

“Together with the rest of East Africa, Rwanda stands with Kenya as you embark on the important work of implementing a governance framework that will deliver to your citizens,” Kagame told the governors and other participants.

Kagame added: “This new beginning should be a unique opportunity to use your own homegrown solutions to achieve and sustain the goals of your respective counties and ultimately to attain your national vision.”

The President said although each country is unique in its own way, African governments shared common aspirations and challenges, which provide an opportunity to learn from each other.

“We can adopt and adapt beneficial practices and sidestep pitfalls to guarantee the wellbeing of our people and build successful nations. To begin with, it is up to us to put in place a leadership and governance that is based on local needs and is people centered. This is the first step in fostering community prosperity, which in turn will create confident and self-reliant nations,” he explained.

Drawing from Rwanda’s home-based initiatives like Umuganda (monthly community service), the Rwandan leader urged Kenyan governors to devise cost effective schemes that involve citizens in nation building.

For example, he said, if you don’t need donors to keep a clean house then you don’t need any to keep a clean country. “In the business of government, there isn’t anything that doesn’t involve citizens. We continue to learn that sustained frank dialogue between leaders and citizens at all levels, is the only way national goals can be achieved, even with limited material resources.”

“Failure to respond to the needs of our people will inevitably result in stagnation, instability and, eventually, jeopardise sovereignty – but we have the ability to prevent such outcomes.”

Other speakers at the forum included Isaac Ruto, Governor of Bomet and Chair of the Kenya Governors’ Council, Philip Kinisu, Chairman Governance Board, PwC Africa, Linus Gitahi, Group CEO, Nation Media Group, and Prof. Olive Mugenda, Vice Chancellor, Kenyatta University.

Kenya swore in 47 elected county governors in a new government structure in March last year. The structure is provided for under the new 2010 constitution.

The county governments are expected to decentralise service provision and resource distribution and to involve citizens’ participation in government affairs.

 

Source: The New Times

Related articles:

Work With the People, Kagame Tells Leaders

by Francis MUREITHI, 21.1.2014, The Star

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has asked governors from the 47 counties to involve locals in deciding on new policies. Kagame told the governors to embrace consultations with the locals and involve them in any measure taken to address the challenges facing the counties… read more

Amb. Mujawamariya presents credentials to President Putin


18.1.2014

Rwanda’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Amb. Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, on Thursday presented her credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.
Presenting her credentials, Ambassador Mujawamariya stated that Rwanda was ready to increase its engagement with Russia after re-opening its embassy in Moscow.

Photo: President Putin (right) receives Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s new ambassador to Russia . Source: The New Times/Courtesy

Mujawamariya described Russia as a long-term friend to Rwanda, according to an embassy statement.

She commended Russia’s collaboration on the UN Security Council and its recent support to the African Union position on the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The AU last year submitted its position on the ICC to the UN Security Council (UNSC), which demanded that no serving Head of State is prosecuted before ICC or any international tribunal.

The position was passed by African leaders during an extra ordinary session of AU Heads of States and government held In Addis Ababa last October.

Rwanda looks forward to Russia’s continued support on Council matters of importance, Mujawamariya said.

She promised that Rwandan representatives in New York will collaborate with Russia diplomats closely.

The Ambassador also expressed Rwanda’s wish for increasing number of scholarships granted by the Russian Federation to Rwandan students.

About 800 Rwandan students have graduated from Russian universities over the last 50 years in various disciplines including law, medicine, international affairs and political science.

The Rwandan embassy in Russia will soon embark on consultations with Russian universities to identify ways of increasing scholarships to Rwandan students in different areas such as science and technology, engineering, mining, petroleum and medicine, the embassy said in a statement.

This year, according to the statement, Rwanda and Russia are expected to hold a business forum to exhibit investment opportunities.

A recent Cabinet meeting approved Ambassador Andrey Vradimirovich Polyakov, as the new Russian envoy to Rwanda.

contact: editorial@newtimes.co.rw

Source: The New Times

Optimism on use of IDs as travel document


THE NEW TIMES 

by Eric KABEERA

12/12/13

photo

A Rwandan poses with a passport. Citizens of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda will, effective January, use national IDs to cross borders of the three states. The New Times/Timothy Kisambira

Officials from the East African Community tripartite partner states are scheduled to meet in Kigali tomorrow to discuss the final modalities of using national identity cards as travel documents.

In 21 days, citizens from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya will be able to travel among three countries using their national identity cards and voter’s cards.

“We are ready to implement the project next month and intend to convene a meeting [on Friday] with other partners to look at how far they have gone, as well as discuss the modalities of implementing the project,” Pascal Nyamurinda, the coordinator of the National Identity Card Project, said on Tuesday.

Underscoring the need to expedite the process, Nyamurinda said once implemented the arrangement would help ease free movement of people, especially traders.

The project, to be implemented under a tripartite arrangement, was agreed upon during the June Entebbe summit in Uganda, where leaders of the three countries agreed to establish a single tourist visa, a single customs territory as well as fast-track a joint railway line project, oil pipeline, and adopt national identity cards as travel documents.

Rwanda was tasked to spearhead the single tourist visa, use of IDs as travel documents, as well as single customs territory.

Nyamurinda added that South Sudan, which has also applied to join the wider EAC bloc, will also be represented at the Friday meeting and will be expected to communicate when to join the tripartite arrangement.

How it will work

Initially, a coupon will be issued to travellers indicating that they have moved out of the country and when they return, the coupon would be left at the immigration offices.

However, with time, the process will go electronic to ease the process.

Ange Sebutege, the communications officer at the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration, said they were in the process of printing the coupons.

Monique Mukaruliza, the national coordinator of the tripartite initiative, earlier told this paper they were ready to implement the project among the three countries.

She said they had started printing the visa stickers and ready to start issuing them come January.

Heads of State are expected to officially launch the two projects during their 4th meeting scheduled for January in a place yet to be confirmed.

Steven Mugabo, a regular traveller, said the use of IDs as travel documents was a crucial initiative that would enhance cross-border trade.

“Not everyone in these countries can afford a passport and it’s sometimes bureaucratic to get it. The use of national identification cards will ease our movements especially the regular traveler,” Mugabo said.

 

Contact email: eric.kabeera[at]newtimes.co.rw

 

Source: The New Times

Rwanda values ties that support local priorities – Kagame


THE NEW TIMES

by James MUNYANEZA

12/12/13

Photo: President Kagame and Howard Buffett share a light moment during the International Quality of Life Award held at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. The New Times/Village Urugwiro

Rwanda values organisations and individuals that do not seek to impose their will but rather align their support with the priorities of the recipient countries, President Kagame has said.

The President was on Tuesday speaking in New York where he delivered a keynote speech on the occasion to honor Howard G. Buffett, an American philanthropist, for his significant contributions to the improvement of the quality of life in developing countries, including Rwanda.

“As we, in Rwanda, look back on our journey of recovery and nation building and as we reflect on the core values of dignity and self-determination that guide our efforts, there are organisations and individuals whose partnership and support stand out. Howard’s is one of them,” he said.

For his work in making significant and lasting contributions to individual, family and community well-being locally and around the world, Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences honoured Howard with the International Quality of Life Award.

Buffett is chair and chief executive of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private charitable foundation working to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalised populations.

‘Unique partner’

Describing him as a unique partner, the President said the IQLA laureate was different from many visitors from foreign governments, academic institutions and NGOs, who arrive in Africa with “preconceived ideas based upon where they come from, what they have heard or read”

Some of these partners, Kagame said, while they often come to the region with good intentions, tend to believe that they understand the situation better than those they seek to help, thereby making the mistake of being overly prescriptive.

“However, Howard [Buffett] has been different. He came to our region with an open mind, ready to listen, learn and share; and not to dictate – and he genuinely used what he learned to inform his actions and investments,” the Head of State told the audience.

“Howard [Buffett] has been a friend to many, including the people of Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa for more than fifteen years. He has made significant contributions to the improvement of the quality of life that should be recognised and respected,” the President said of the laureate.

In the case of Rwanda, Kagame said, Howard [Buffett] has “sought to understand the country and brought in support and perspective that have helped address our particular challenges.”


Photo: A busy Rwanda-DR Congo border post. The country’s capacity building could grow through leaps and bounds with partners such as Howard Buffett who give unconditionally. The New Times/ File

Approach to partnerships

Sharing Rwanda’s approach to partnerships, President Kagame explained that in order to achieve the country’s national vision and overcome adversity, Rwanda has continued to challenge conventional wisdom.

“Our situation has taught us to value and appreciate people of conviction who have the courage to do the right thing even when it is considered controversial by others. Howard [Buffett] is one of those people,” he added.

President Kagame said when he met Buffett in August, the American philanthropist committed to two things: partnering to modernise and develop DRC-Rwanda border post; and supporting Rwanda’s Strategic Capacity Building Initiative to strengthen government institutions.

In a statement released yesterday, the Howard Buffett Foundation announced a US$3.7 million grant for the Government of Rwanda Strategic Capacity Building Initiative (SCBI).

“Rwanda’s development successes can be attributed to its aid effectiveness and its investments in governments and institutions,” Buffett said.

“If Western donors truly want to support African-led development, and bring an end to Africa’s reliance on outside aid, it’s critical they support important efforts like SCBI.”

President Kagame also lauded the American for his Africa Great Lakes Peace Initiative which seeks to fund specific development projects in eastern DR Congo, with the President saying this “will play a significant part in lasting peace and stability that is sought in the DRC and beyond”

“Howard’s work should serve as an example to those who want to build meaningful partnerships that make an actual difference in the lives of those who need it the most,” the President said of the recipient of the IQLA.

Howard, the eldest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, also operates a 1,500-acre family farm in central Illinois, and is involved with improving production practices for smallholder farmers in developing countries in Africa and Latin America.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, received a lifetime achievement award. Other notable attendees were UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and actress Eva Longoria.

Contact email: james.munyaneza[at]newtimes.co.rw

 

Source: The New Times

A Parliament Where Women Are Plural


EMBASSY OF RWANDA, BRUSSELS

WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT

President of the Rwandan Parlament Donatilla Mukabalisa (middle).  Photo: toukilontreal.com

President of the Rwandan Parliament , Mrs. Donatilla Mukabalisa , will visit Belgium from 27 November to 1 December , with a parliamentary delegation from Rwanda . Madame Mukabalisa was elected president of the Chamber of Deputies after the parliamentary elections in October 2013. Following these elections , 64% of seats in the House of Representatives were won by women, a result that confirms and strengthens the position of world leader in Rwanda in terms of women’s participation in political life . This result and the reforms and policies implemented in recent years to promote the participation of women in political life in Rwanda will be awarded at the “Women in Parliaments Global Forum ” (WIP) – which takes place in Brussels from the  27.- 29. November 2013. The Rwanda there will receive a ” Women in Parliament Award ” in the category Political Empowerment.

Meet the Debate with the Diaspora 30/11/2013

Following this event , the delegation benefit to meet the Rwandan community living in Belgium . Indeed , the association DRB- Rugari has invited Rwandan living in Belgium on the  30.11.2013 at 14h to a open discussion meeting on the theme of ” NDI UMUNYARWANDA “ program that will be followed by a cup of friendship with the delegation of Rwandan Parliamentarians , which will be chaired by the President of the Chamber of Deputies of Rwanda , Mrs Mukabalisa Donatilla . This will also be the opportunity to discuss the news of the country , including the ambitious agenda of reform and development being implemented in Rwanda.

Practical details:

Location: Husa President Park Hotel, Boulevard du Roi Albert II , 44-1000 Brussels

Time: From 14h

Source: Ambassade du Rwanda Belgique

Original message:

WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT

La présidente du Parlement du Rwanda, Mme. Donatilla Mukabalisa, sera en visite en Belgique du 27 novembre au 1er décembre, avec une délégation parlementaires du Rwanda. Madame Mukabalisa a été élue présidente de la Chambre des députés suite aux élections parlementaires d’octobre 2013. A l’issue de ces élections, 64% des sièges de la Chambre des représentants ont été remportés par des femmes, un résultat qui confirme et consolide la position de leader mondial du Rwanda en termes de participation des femmes à la vie politique. Ce résultat et les réformes et politiques mises en œuvre au cours des dernières années afin de promouvoir la participation des femmes à la vie politique rwandaise se verra récompensé lors du “Women in Parliaments Global Forum” (WIP) – qui se déroule à Bruxelles du 27 au 29 novembre 2013. Le Rwanda s’y verra remettre un « Women in Parliament Award » dans la catégorie Political Empowerment.

Rencontre-Débat avec la Diaspora ce 30/11/2013

Suite à cet événement, la délégation en profitera pour rencontrer la communauté rwandaise résidant en Belgique. En effet, l’association DRB-Rugari a le plaisir de vous inviter le samedi 30/11/2013 à 14h à une rencontre-débat, sur le thème du programme “NDI UMUNYARWANDA” qui sera suivie d’un verre de l’amitié, avec la délégation de Parlementaires Rwandais, qui sera présidée par la Présidente de la Chambre des Députés Rwandais, Madame MUKABALISA Donatilla. ce sera également l’occasion de discuter de l’actualité du pays, notamment de l’ambitieux agenda de réformes et de développement actuellement mis en œuvre au Rwanda.

Détails pratiques:

Lieu: Husa President Park Hotel,Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 44-1000 Bruxelles

Heure: A partir de 14h