The New Times (Kigali)

3 December 2012

Rwanda: Mukantabana to Head Africa's MPs Forum

The Speaker of Parliament, Rose Mukantabana has been elected to chair the African Parliamentary Union (APU) for the next two years.

She becomes the 35th chairperson following Rwanda's progress in championing gender equality.

Rwanda was nominated by delegations from Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe.

Shortly after Cameroon backed Rwanda for the post, the Vice President of the Equatorial Guinea Parliament, MP Engono Nchama Jesus Obono, also gave her nomination and support.

Nominating, Rwanda, the vice president of Equatorial Guinea's parliament, Engono Nchama Jesus Obono said considering what her delegation and others had witnessed,

Rwanda, should be able to represent the rest of Africa.

"And we hope that everybody is going to follow the model of Rwanda in gender equality, the adoption of laws, and other policies," she siad.

MP Edna Madzongwe, President of the Zimbabwe Senate in backing, Mukantabana said; "I also wish to add to the support that Rwanda has. We support the candidature for the President of the Executive, in the name of the Speaker of the Parliament of Rwanda, Madame Rose Mukantabana."

"She has done such a good job. She has demonstrated her capabilities, to host, to guide, and she made all of us very comfortable. And, I wholeheartedly support her candidature."

In her acceptance speech, Mukantabana said it was a sign of trust for Rwanda and herself.

"I would like to extend my thanks to all of you. Thank you for coming all the way from your countries to Kigali. We consider it a sign of trust. For those who didn't know Rwanda very well, they probably confused the Rwanda of today and that of 1994 ... because they have misinformation as they don't have the real picture of Rwanda."

During the week-long stay in the country APU lawmakers conducted field visits in various areas of the country to acquaint themselves with developments.

Mukantabana thus urged them, as they return home, to help counter the misinformation about Rwanda, especially by the fugitives and perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi who roam the world.

Mukantabana said: "In many countries, there are still some people who massacred the Tutsi in 1994 and they are still propagating misinformation against Rwanda. You have seen the reality. Rwanda is committed to continue working for the promotion of human rights in Africa and defending justice in Africa, and to defend justice at the international level and to achieve prosperity for people."

She affirmed the determination to be more active and more effective at the level the APU. "I want to thank you, again, for giving Rwanda this level of trust. Thank you for trusting in us and me," she concluded while pledging to work hard to take the organisation to a higher level.

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