22 November 2012

Rwanda: Ugandan MPs On Governance Tour

Members of parliament from Uganda's ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) have said Rwanda's governance system is fair, accommodative and all political parties are well represented in parliament.

The six-member team and their support staff arrived on Tuesday and have been touring government institutions as well as holding talks with their counterparts and other politicians.

In their talks with the Rwanda Governance Board yesterday, the MPs observed that the country's political system of power sharing, where the ruling party must have less than 50 percent representation in government, is accommodative and serves the true purpose of democracy.

"We have come to understand that Rwanda cannot have a Speaker of Parliament who is from the same party as the President, which is different from ours where the winner takes it all," said the head of delegation, Hon. David Bahati.

"In Uganda, the President is from NRM, the Speaker is also from NRM and the deputy Speaker from NRM, so, everywhere we see the opportunity to increase numbers, we don't just donate our seats to other parties".

Kenneth Omona, the MP of Kaberamaido County, added that Rwanda's political system is a pan-African style, built not on what is imposed by the west but by what Rwanda thinks is best for its people and future democracy.

"As a Pan-African, I am proud that Rwanda did not just jump into the bandwagon of implementing political systems that the West thinks everybody should implement. Africa needs home grown solutions and ideas that truly work in the context of the country's history and future," Omona said.

"Rwanda also has the advantage that it has unifying language, Kinyarwanda, which everyone in the country understands. Such national instruments can be used to unify people and include them in developmental decisions".

Prof Anastase Shyaka, the CEO of RGB, told the parliamentarians that Rwanda and Uganda share a fruitful relationship and always seek to share best practices to improve governance.

"Rwanda's history does not allow for the 'winner takes it all' kind of system. One of the challenges we have had is that whenever the country tried to democratise, it always ended up having deep political conflicts. Not only political conflicts but conflicts that divided the people and led to deadly massacres," Shyaka said.

He said that an assessment had to be done to review the problems in the system to make sure that they got an all inclusive democracy.

The team also interacted with several Rwandan MPs with both parties calling on regional parliamentarians to improve their representation role in order to foster national development.

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