Preparations for parliamentary elections, slated for September, are underway among political parties with most of them projecting June as a critical month to finalise their political agendas and decide if they will run in coalition or on their own, The New Times has learnt.
In separate interviews with this paper, party leaders revealed that most of them are busy training their members on the electoral process and party principles and collecting ideas that will be used to design convincing manifestos that will attract voters when campaigns kick off in August.
Most consultations have left political parties with an idea of what remain the most pressing issues for the people at the moment, with youth unemployment, access to healthcare, the quality of education, infrastructure development, and poverty among Genocide survivors and other vulnerable members of society topping the list.
When asked about her party’s preparations for the upcoming elections, the head of the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), Agnes Mukabaranga, said preparations were at an advanced level.
“It’s been three weeks now since we completed training for our representatives in districts so that we can come up with a political agenda to sell to teh electorate in September,” she said.
Equally, representatives of all the remaining nine registered political parties said their parties were doing pretty much the same thing—preparing their respective political manifestos—and were targeting the month of June to complete the real messages that the Rwandan public will be flooded with during elections.
Rallying with RPF
Previous parliamentary elections which were held on September 15, 2008 were won by a coalition led by ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi). The coalition included Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), Parti du Progrès et la Concorde (PPC), Union Démocratique du Peuple Rwandais (UDPR), Parti de la Solidarité et du Progrès (PSP), Parti Socialiste Rwandais (P S R) and the Ideal Democratic Party (PDI).
Responding to the question of whether they are planning on forming the coalition with the RPF again in the upcoming elections, representatives of all the six political parties said that decisions to rally with the ruling party will be taken in June during their respective general assemblies.
But none of the politicians ruled out the possibility of their parties joining hands with the RPF again, some of them even going further to reveal that their partnership with RPF has helped them contribute towards building the country.
Meanwhile, leaders of the remaining three political parties—PS-Imberakuri, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), and the Liberal Party (PL)—have indicated that they will run on their own during the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
PSD and PL have always run on their own in the country’s elections but PS-Imberakuri will be participating in the elections for the first time, having been created in July 2009.
By Eugene Kwibuka, The New Times