The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Parties Forum Wants More Women in Politics

Women have been urged to take up leadership positions in political parties and active politics.

Speaking after National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations (NFPO) general assembly on Thursday, the forum's spokesperson, Christine Mukabunani, said that women are still few in leadership positions.

A survey conducted last year by the forum and released during the assembly indicates that the percentage of women holding leadership positions in five of the ten official political parties is far below as required by law.

Article two of the law governing political organisations and politicians, which is currently under review, states that each political organisation should ensure that 30 per cent of the elective posts are occupied by women.

"Our findings indicate that in some political parties, women constitute only1 percent of the leadership positions," said Mukabunani who is also the president of P.S Imberakuri political party.

Explaining that although there are women who are still reluctant in taking up leadership positions in political parties, Mukabunani pointed out that the survey proved that some men bar their spouses to play key roles in political leaderships.

Mukabunani expressed concern over the issue saying this is one way of oppressing and abusing women's rights.

She cited article 54 of the constitution which states that political organisations must constantly reflect the unity of the people of Rwanda and gender equality in the recruitment of members, putting in place organs of leadership and their operations and activities.

Speaking to The New Times, some participants said that political parties are willing to trust women with leadership positions, but that some women are not ready to take up the opportunities.

However, the Executive Secretary of the forum, Anicent Kayigema, dismissed the allegations, saying that having at least 30 percent in leadership positions is an obligation.

"This is a law like any other that must be taken serious, and failure means there is something that needs to be done or measures that need to be taken," Kayigema said with out giving details of the measures that might be taken.

Parties with fewer women at leader's ship level include Rwandese Labour Party (PSR with 1 per cent and PS Imberakuri with 24 per cent.

Others are Democratic Union of the Rwandan People with 26 per cent, Centrist Democratic Party having 20 per cent while the Party for Progress and Concord has 23 per cent.

The Ideal Democratic Party has 24 per cent.

The four parties with the required and above percentage include RPF-Inkotanyi with 67 per cent; Liberal Party with 38 per cent, Social Democratic Party has 38 percent while Party for Solidarity and Progress has 82 percent, making the highest percentage.

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