Rwanda Decides - Top 13 Campaign Pledges Candidates Have Made So Far

Paul Kagame, président du Rwanda

The campaign period for political parties and independent candidates for parliamentary seats and president began on June 22 and are set to close this Friday on July 13 ahead of elections this month.

For Rwandans abroad, voting for the president and 53 members of parliament will take place on July 14 while those in the country will vote on Monday, July 15.

On July 16, 24 female members of parliament will be elected by special organs, depending on the administrative structure.

Voting for two members of parliament elected by the National Youth Council and one Member of Parliament elected by the National Council of Persons with Disabilities will also take place on July 16.

Below are top 10 issues candidates have so far raised during the campaign and pledged advocacy to address them.

Matching pension with cost of living, lowering retirement age to 60

As part of its manifesto, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) says it will advocate for timely matching pension with the cost of living so that retirees enjoy improved living conditions, if its candidates win seats in Parliament's Chamber of Deputies.

On April 1, the president of Rwanda Pensioners' Association, Dorothée Uwimana, told The New Times some retirees get as little as Rwf20,000 in pension benefits - with Rwf13,000 as the smallest pension - per month, which she said was too little to help a pensioner meet their basic needs given the rise in prices at the market.

Liberal Party (PL) manifesto has also pledged advocacy to increase pension benefits amid the current rising cost of living needed in the next five years.

Green Party presidential and parliamentary candidates also announced a plan to allow people to start receiving their retirement benefits at 60, with an option to begin as early as 55 upon request.

The party argues that the current retirement age of 65 is high, which leaves retirees with little time to enjoy their pension and engage in business activities.

Glass factory for construction, bottles

The Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF Inkotanyi) has promised to set up a factory to manufacture glass used in the construction sector and bottles used in drink processing factories with an aim to reduce imports.

This is one of the pledges in its manifesto that would be implemented within a five-year period once its presidential candidate, the incumbent President Paul Kagame, is re-elected to the presidency in the July elections.

Information obtained from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) shows that demand for glass bottles is set to increase from 19,530 tonnes in 2022 to 24,179 tonnes in 2027.

Decongesting correctional facilities, justice compensation fund

Liberal Party (PL) has pledged to push for laws that will help establish public interest works as an alternative penalty to imprisonment for misdemeanors [a crime that carries a less severe punishment than a felony] in order to reduce congestion in Rwandan correctional facilities.

Statistics from Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) show that, in 2023, there were a total of 89,034 inmates in the 13 correctional facilities.

The Green Party has promised a 'justice compensation fund' expected to compensate individuals acquitted after long periods of imprisonment.

Tannery Park, textile plant

RPF Inkotanyi also targets to set up a hides processing factory (under the name Tannery Park) that will be supporting factories that will be making leather shoes and other products.

Local manufacturers of leather products such as shoes, belts, sandals, bags among others have been relying on imported tanned hides and skins because there is not enough quantity and quality of them on the local market.

It also promised a textile plant that will be producing fabrics and other materials used by garment factories.

Pledge to extend Mutuelle cover in all pharmacies

Residents in Gicumbi welcomed a pledge by the Social Democratic Party (PSD) to improve access to medicines for members of the community-based health insurance scheme (CBHI) - also known as Mutuelle de Santé - in pharmacies.

The move would be aimed at addressing the current situation where Mutuelle de Santé members do not benefit from the 90 per cent cover of medical bills under the scheme, when it comes to buying drugs in pharmacies outside public health facilities.

Rwandan diaspora saving scheme

Liberal Party said it will call for a Rwandan diaspora saving scheme to pave the way for contributing to Rwanda's socio-economic development.

Independent presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana also promise to strengthen patriotism among Rwandans living abroad if elected president in the July 14-15 general elections.

Scraping tax on Rwf100, 000 income, land, lowering VAT

The Social Democratic Party (PSD) is pushing for an increase of the tax-free income cap so that anyone who earns up to Rwf100,000 a month does not pay tax in line with improving low-income earners' welfare.

It has also promised to advocate for lowering value-added tax (VAT) to 14 per cent from the current 18 per cent, a move the party stated would increase residents' purchasing power, lower the cost of living, and stimulate economic growth.

The Green Party's manifesto also included abolishing land tax, reducing VAT from 18 percent to 14 percent.

Agro-processing factories, farming productivity increase by 8% annually

Liberal Party (PL) said there is a need to increase efforts in rainwater harvesting at a large scale so as to enhance irrigation for crops and water supply to livestock during dry seasons.

As farming production increases, it added, it will advocate for more agro-processing factories to boost experts and build feeder roads for easier transport of agricultural harvest.

Under its manifesto for the next five years (2024-2029), RPF-Inkotanyi seeks to increase agricultural and livestock productivity by 8 percent annually, manufacturing productivity by 13 percent annually, and create 250,000 new jobs annually.

PS Imberakuri's five-year manifesto also wants to call for increased efforts in the fight against soil erosion and floods as part of addressing climate change effects on agriculture.

It also wants farmers to choose crops suited to their regions and have a say in the agricultural projects including the use of mechanization equipment.

Janvier Nsengiyumva, who is running for an independent parliamentary seat, has promised residents to boost fish production if he is elected.

The Social Democratic Party (PSD) has pledged to advocate for establishing a special financial institution for agriculture that provides loans with a 10 per cent interest rate.

Access to tertiary education loans

Independent presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana has proposed that all students from both public and private universities have access to tertiary education loans.

Currently only students from the University of Rwanda have access to education loans from government.

"It is a loan to be paid back and should not be limited to public university students," he said.

Changing how members of parliament are elected

Independent presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana, 54, is proposing a number of changes to the Chamber of Deputies that he would implement if elected as Head of State in the July 2024 polls.

For him, candidates for parliamentary positions must campaign at district level.

Each district, he said, must be represented by two MPs - and there are 30 districts in Rwanda - and five must come from special interest categories (two from the diaspora, two from the youth, and one from people with disabilities) - totalling 65 lawmakers.

Mpayimana suggests the removal of a women special interest group that is allocated a 30 per cent quota of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and instead promote 50/50 gender parity among parliamentary candidates.

Over 1,000-kilometer roads and 1,626-kilometer feeder roads

RPF also pledged to construct and rehabilitate 1, 091-kilometer roads and 1,626-kilometer feeder roads, build three ports on Lake Kivu in Rusizi, Karongi, and Rutsiro districts, and advance technology adoption, especially enhancing the use of Artificial Intelligence, among others.

Paul Kagame, the RPF Chairman and flagbearer in this month's presidential elections, while in Karongi said the stalled Muhanga-Karongi road will be fast-tracked.

Liberal Party (PL) parliamentary aspirants pledged to consider rehabilitation of the road from Ruhango town to Gitwe District Hospital as well as the one to Remera Rukoma District Hospital in Kamonyi District if they get seats in parliament during July elections.


While campaigning in Nyamasheke District, RPF-Inkotanyi flagbearer and incumbent President Paul Kagame warned against any foreign attempts to destabilize Rwanda's security, reiterating his position that the country does not ask permission to protect itself from anyone.

In his address, Kagame reflected back on the time when militias from neighbouring DR Congo attempted to lure Nyamasheke residents into destabilizing the country, all in vain.

More than one seat needed to represent persons with disabilities in parliament

Thirteen candidates vying for one seat to represent persons with disabilities in the chamber of deputies have pledged to advocate for inclusivity and more than one seat in parliament so that they can be represented by both genders.

Gato Damien, one of the candidates, said that if elected in the July 14-15 parliamentary polls, he will advocate for financial inclusion for people with disabilities and fight for inclusion to be at least 15 percent in the quarter system.

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