11 December 2012

Rwanda: Youth Urged to Participate in Governance Programmes

Officials from the Ministry of Local Government have challenged the youth to actively take part in deliberating public issues.

According to Fred Mufuruke, Director of Administration and Good Governance at the ministry of Local Government, the youth are the most energetic and informed group hence the need for them to explicitly participate in all governance programmes.

"They must have the ability to analyse situational issues to come up with logical and critical contributions."

Mufuruke made the remarks on Monday while addressing university students undergoing training in human rights. The exercise was organised by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) as part of activities to mark the International Human Rights Day held under the theme: "Inclusion and the right to participation in public life".

Mufuruke said the government had spared no efforts to ensure citizenry participation in public life, saying this contrasted sharply to the pre-genocide period when women and youth were marginalised in both political and socio-economic activities.

"Before 1994, youth were used to abuse human rights including extermination of their brothers and sisters, rape and so on," he said.

He added that after the genocide, the government committed to promote the right to participation in public life, adding that the constitution particularly protects the rights of citizens.

Article 45 of the 2003 constitution of Rwanda guarantees that all citizens have "the right to participate in the governance of the country, whether directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the law."

All citizens have the right of equal access to public service in accordance with their competence and abilities".

According to Mufuruke , a system is already in place to enhance the youth participation in decision-making.

What remains is to empower the youth to enable them have more influence in decision making."

However, Mufuruke said the youth participation in good governance and development activities is still low in some cases.

" For example, the youth do not participate in the community exercise (Umuganda) while they are on holidays; they participate only when organised by their schools or universities," he said.

A student from the School of Financing and Banking (SFB) Jon Bosco Nyemanzi called for regular dialogue between the government and the youth especially through outreach programmes in all higher institutions of learning to raise awareness on human rights and participation in good governance.

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