The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda’s National Political Programme unveiled.

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NATIONAL POLITICAL PLATFORM

Preamble

We, the founding members of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda require the Government of Rwanda to operate within the limits set forth in the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.

As Green Democrats, we believe:

Non-violence and peaceful means of conflict resolution are the best solutions to national problems.

Social Justice and equal opportunity while focusing on personal and social responsibility guarantees a better future.

We believe in consulting citizens and requesting for their opinion on major policy matters before taking decisions. Participatory Democracy is rooted in community practice at the grassroots level. Citizens have the power and Government exists to serve them.

Unity and reconciliation of Rwandans should be promoted and ethnic politics be rejected.

Promotion of agricultural production. The Government must subsidize prices for agricultural produce. We should also balance the interests of a regulated market economy and community-based economics.

Government must take special care to protect and defend the rights of the innocent and defenseless members of our society.

Government must practice fiscal responsibility, limit taxation and control spending. Progressive taxation should be encouraged.

No citizen is above the law, all Rwandans have equal rights.

Government exists to protect and ensure the unalienable rights of the people, which include the right to life, liberty, peaceful assembly, expression, worship and the pursuit of happiness.

Our unalienable rights are granted to us by God.

POLICY PLEDGES FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS (2013-2018)

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda takes pride in its focus on innovative policies, approaches and solutions to the challenges that the Republic of Rwanda faces, through democratic and green policies and processes.

This platform is a living and dynamic document aimed to suit national interests. It will guide the party its national activities in the next five years.

We shall make the following policy and legislative changes:

  1.    Education

We propose a revision on Education Policy that will enable equal opportunities for education for all Rwandans. We call for improvement in the quality of education and stability in the education policy. There is a need for more investment in the education sector but with special focus on social needs. There is also a high need for specialised professional teachers.

We shall encourage reviews and changes in the students financing policy (Ubudehe poverty level classification).

We will emphasise the need to give equal value to both English and French as languages of instruction. We will call for increment of teacher’s salary and benefits.

We shall encourage the increase of Technical and Vocational Training Centres and give them sufficient resources. They are currently few and poorly equipped.

We shall call for a nation-wide increase of nursery schools. They are currently few and based in towns and very expensive.

We shall encourage for a review of the 12 year basic education and make sure it gets the value it deserves. Some of the sections/courses studied are not marketable and seem outdated. We call for the increase in teacher’s capacity building and continuous use of teaching aids. Teachers need proper training in English language and also need motivation. The graduates from this 12 year basic education have less capacity compared to pupils from other schools.  The schools of reference (ecoles des reference) charge a lot of money which pupils from poor families cannot afford to pay, yet education is considered to be free.

We shall call for re-introduction of health education at high school level (A2) and also allow the private sector to invest in the medical education.

We shall encourage the University of Rwanda to introduce a school of Tourism and hospitality Studies, awarding Bachelors of Tourism Management, Hotel Management, etc.

DGPR will request a clarification and review in the national civic education program (Ingando) given to secondary school leavers. This national program has become a recruiting ground for some political parties.  This needs to be stopped. We shall also review the ‘National Itorero program’, which is currently becoming like a program of some political parties, yet it’s a national program.

We will advocate for national leadership on sustainability by encouraging support for interdisciplinary education, research, and engagement, and influence development and implementation of strategies for a sustainable development.

2.      Economy

We shall encourage a strong green economy that creates new jobsThis will include green energy, green tourism, sustainable farming, sustainable planning, green transportation, sustainable industrialisation and many others.

We will encourage increased employment opportunities in all sectors, which will result in improved wellbeing of all Rwandans.

We shall demand that commodity prices match with the purchasing power of citizens.

We will encourage a responsible taxation policy that encourages domestic trade and investment. We also need a harmonisation of the taxation system.

We will encourage export policy and mechanisms to increase revenue, and measures to ease the pressure on small business, because People in small businesses are the heart of the economy but disadvantaged compared with big business.

We shall call for the private sector intervention in Water and energy provision. The national water and electricity authority should stop its monopoly of water and energy sector.

National tenders should benefit the local community other than foreigners. Foreign companies should seriously consider employing nationals in both senior and low levels jobs other than bringing foreigners to implement national projects. Open competition and transparency in national tenders is called for.

We shall call for transparency in the awarding of Government jobs. Employment opportunities should not be based on political party orientation but on merit. Power sharing should be made clear to all political actors.

There is need to encourage more investment in the tourism sector and improvement in service delivery.

The public transport sector still needs government support. The national transportation agency needs to be revised and support transportation in rural areas. Kigali city transportation new program needs careful analysis and revision

3.      Flexible Public Service System

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda shall encourage political reform in public service. Political reform must be accompanied by changes in our civil and public service.

We require all senior public servants especially district Mayors, provincial Governors and permanent secretaries of ministries not to hold any leadership positions in political parties.

Those currently holding leadership positions in political parties should either resign from those posts or leave the public service. The civil service should maintain its non-political character while engaging in more interaction with the political system.

We encourage all concerned authorities that have service contracts with the private sector to ensure payments on time in order to avoid unnecessary losses to businessmen.

We shall encourage greater accountability of both the Local and Central Government.

Opposition parties should have access as a matter of course to briefings from Government officials on emerging legislative and policy proposals.

4.      Truth, Unity and Reconciliation

The Democratic Green Party will propose a national dialogue (Assises Nationales) on Truth, Unity and Reconciliation. This national dialogue will bring together all Rwandans from different walks of life to discuss matters of national importance. It will be composed of members from the Government, Opposition, civil society, media, religious institutions and opinion leaders.  We shall encourage truth telling while guarding against ethnic politics, genocide ideology and promoting freedoms including, free speech and free press.

We will encourage truth-seeking processes, responding to specific needs and realities, influence establishment of similar institutions or fora, whether born of executive decree, an act of parliament, a judicial decision or a peace agreement, to engage in genuine dialogue and consultation for rendering justice and restoring dignity.

We will ensure that our national history is well recorded and well taught.

We will ensure that the rights of victims of the serious human rights violations are respected; help facilitate their access to justice through official justice mechanisms, such as reparative justice, reconciliatory justice and criminal prosecutions.

5.      Sustainable Agriculture, Livestock and Land Policy

The Democratic Green Party, will encourage, promote and partner for better methods of farming that will help Rwandans have enough food to eat and export.

We also promote sustainable agriculture techniques of weed, pest, disease and erosion control, high soil quality, research based agriculture, crop-rotation, natural pest predators, soil enrichment by organic manure, livestock farming, cover crops, agro-processing industries etc.

We require that farmers be consulted by state officials before taking decisions on what type of crops are suitable for their land. We shall encourage scientific verification of which crops are suitable with the land in question.

We shall propose increased public spending in Agriculture in order to increase productivity and investment in Agricultural infrastructure.

We will call for the introduction at the Cell Level of Agriculturalists (Agronome A2), so that they can assist with training and mobilisation of farmers. Farmers need to be given seeds and organic manure at no cost.

The issue of land ownership, needs to be revised, it’s unfair for citizens to rent their ancestral land from the Government.  The current expropriation policy only considers properties on land but does not land itself. This needs immediate change. Citizens should have a right to own their land instead of renting it from the state.

Wetlands in villages should benefit the people concerned by allowing them a chance to plant several household crops. Monoculture in those wetlands should be discouraged.

We shall expand this sector by harnessing and growing our international reputation as ‘the Green Land of Africa, by positioning ourselves at the premium quality end of the market.

We will discourage industrial agriculture that is unhealthy—for our environment, our climate, our bodies, and our rural economies.

6.      Reform the Social Welfare System

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda will propose a modernized social welfare system.

We will propose policies that can provide un-employment benefits and search for more job opportunities for the youth. We will also strengthen policies that can support people living with disabilities have more access to education, employment and better living conditions. We will also call for a fund and or a project for the elderly at the community level.

We will encourage a better social welfare for all Rwandans, which will include special care for the elderly, the aged survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

7.      Environmental Management

We will encourage and enforce sustainable planning, environment and social impact assessments, Green Growth mechanism, climate change sound policies and legislation, etc.

We shall call for appropriate compensation for properties of the citizens forced to leave their homes to new settlements due to environmental risks.

We will partner to fight the consequences of climate change (large wildfires, dangerous heat waves, extreme storm, floods, severe droughts), which are already having significant and harmful effects on our health, our environment, and our communities.

We will encourage clean vehicle and fuel technologies that provide the foundation for the practical, realistic oil savings plan.

We will request the Government to install a machine testing gases from vehicles, so that appropriate advice could be given to stop dangerous vehicles from polluting our skies.

We will encourage renewable energy resources like wind and solar power generate electricity with little or no pollution and global warming emissions and discourage dirty and dangerous energy sources like coal and nuclear power.

We will propose and campaign for a national Biosecurity Authority or Agency to protect us from pests and diseases in a world facing climate change.

We shall also propose the establishment of a national Wildlife Authority to help in taking care of our wildlife.

8.       Peace and Non-Violence

The Democratic Green Party will encourage peaceful means in conflict resolution.

We shall encourage Government to have dialogue with its political adversaries and understand that political opponents are not state enemies.

We shall encourage medical examinations to criminal suspects before court judgements. This will ensure that people who are mentally unstable are not taken to prisons but rather to mental hospitals.

9.      Participatory and Grassroots Democracy

We will encourage a broader opening of the political spectrum to all people of Rwanda and the insurance of equal opportunities to all Rwandans.

We will ensure that the Government allows opposition parties to exist and exercise their role in nation building.

We require the Government to promote the culture of public debates on policy issues and ensure that political debates are not limited to the national consultative political parties’ forum.

The Government should make sure that opposition parties are provided with draft policy and legislative documents in advance, so that they are able to add their inputs.

We will encourage the Government to ensure that all Rwandans are protected and treated fairly and equally according to the law.

We will support the promotion of women, youth, children, people with disabilities and marginalised people. Women representation should go beyond national levels, they also need to be equally represented in all local administrative levels of the country.

We will promote a change in the electoral law and introduce the constituency based elections, instead of national party lists.

We will ensure that even opposition parties are well represented in all structures of the National Electoral Commission.

We will support and influence all citizens to have the opportunity to choose those that represent them in the government and ensure elected representatives work on behalf of the citizenry

We will promote freedoms of association, media, speech, religion and other civil liberties.

10.   Support to Media Development

DGPR will support media development policies and programs. It shall seek support for media capacity building, while promoting the freedom of speech, expression and media. Access to information and publication of state matters should be made easier. The Ministerial decree contradicting the Media law should be revised or removed.

DGPR will support and campaign for discrimination of defamation in the media law. Defamation should be a civil case other than a criminal case.

We shall plan to give awards to the best performing media practitioners in different domains, such as: democracy, environment, gender, human rights etc.

11.  Human Rights

DGPR will promote the respect and revision of laws regarding human rights.

State authorities, especially local government leaders should ensure that citizens are not persecuted and or discriminated against. Cases of beatings and unlawful imprisonments of citizens shall be condemned.

We shall promote the separation of powers and more especially the independence of the judiciary.

We will ensure people have the right to think and speak as they wish and in line with the law.

DGPR will advocate for strengthening of existing institutions in charge of human rights enforcements, so that they become citizen’s advocates rather than being Governments mouthpieces. Dissemination of human rights practices should be availed to all local administrative levels of the country.

12.  Sustainable Health Care

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda will promote a multidisciplinary approach to HIV/AIDS, sexual and gender based violence challenges. We will support one-stop centers, as well as sexual and reproductive health programs.

We encourage and ensure dental care to Rwandans especially those unable to afford proper dental care.

We will request concerned health authorities to give value to the local medical insurance ‘Mutuel de Sante’. Patients using this insurance are not getting good service and the necessary attention and care, compared with patients with other medical insurances like RAMA, MEDPLAN, etc. Drugs given are in most times not very helpful. Students in higher institutions of learning need to get a good value for the money they are paying for their medical insurance. We will call for more health centers at local levels.

We will influence and advocate for sustainable health care that’s good for the environment, good for patients and staff. We shall encourage hospitals and health centers to: reduce and recycle solid waste, reduce regulated and chemical waste, reduce energy and water consumption, create healing environments, and establish green purchasing policies.

We shall promote population growth control mechanisms and encourage Rwandans to produce a few that they can afford to take care of.

We will also call for transparency and improved monitoring of traditional healers and traditional medicine.

13.  Security and Foreign Policy

DGPR would like to see Rwanda at peace with itself and its neighbours.

We will strive for a culture of peace and cooperation between states, inside societies and between individuals, as a basis of national and international security.

We believe that security should not rest mainly in military strength but on cooperation, sound economic and social development, environmental safety and respect for human rights.

DGPR believes that Rwanda should only defend itself if and when attacked or threatened but should not be the one to start wars or attack others.

14.  Permanent Solution of the Refugee problem

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda in collaboration with all concerned stakeholders will propose policies that will put an end to the chronic refugee problem of the people of Rwanda.

Approved by DGPR’s Political Bureau, on 29th October 2013

 Dr. Frank HABINEZA

President,

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

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