Rwanda: Parliamentary Election - Mukantwari, a Primary School Teacher On a Mission to Curtail Family Conflicts

Elizabeth Mukantwari, a Kinyarwanda language and maths teacher at Kagasa Primary School in Kicukiro District, Kigali, wants to contest for a seat in parliament with a noble mission of "fighting rampant family conflicts" so as to ensure the wellbeing of communities, and better future for Rwandan children.

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Mukantwari who has been a primary school teacher for 15 years said this after presenting her candidature to the National Electoral Commission (NEC), on Wednesday, May 22.

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"The main reason I chose to focus on family conflict management is that, as an educator, I am considering the situation of children because when you are teaching a child whose parents are fighting, are in disagreement over property, or heading to divorce, the children cannot concentrate at school. You find that a teacher's efforts are in vain because the child is absent minded," she said.

"But on the other hand, kids who come from conflict-free families come to school with all academic materials and will be able to follow in class. They come on time, and they are smart and happy, which increases their level of performance as they do not have other things bothering them."

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Mukantwari who is also in charge of social affairs in Eastern Province's National Women Council said that being a voice for women, and people in general, is something she has always done. This, she said, gives her full confidence to run for a seat in parliament.

"We were able to settle some issues, especially the ones regarding family conflicts. So, it is in that line that I want to continue my advocacy at national level through parliament," she said.

Mukantwari said if elected, she will do more advocacy by working with her colleagues.

"I would like to work with other authorities to introduce a new initiative; in awarding the couples that are able to shun family conflicts, live in harmony, and therefore serve as role models to others," she said, adding that such exemplary couples should be monitored so as to ensure that they do not relapse.

"And this can happen at the cell level more like Umuganda (community work) takes place on the last Saturday of every week. We can identify a day on which such awards can be given."

Mukantwari said that if she wins a parliamentary seat, other primary teachers will be happy, and inspired, "because it can show that a primary school teacher too is able" and can dream big when it comes to contributing to national development.

"My confidence is from within. In our country women are able to do great things as long as they have the will. For now, the first step is achieved as I managed to submit my candidature and the rest will be decided during the elections."

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