Rwandan parliamentarians aim at nothing than filling their pockets with large salaries and all sorts of emoluments to the detriment of the common people. Instead of voicing their concerns about the critical livelihoods of the people, they seek to please President Kagame and the oligarchy of the ruling party (RPF). Anyone who disagree with this view should look at how they behave while voting for the budget of the government irrespective of alarming poverty that’s continually plaguing on the peasants. They don’t care about overtaxation imposed on the people, unprecedented economic misery, severe malnutrition among children amounting to kwashiorkor rating at 35% on the national level, high figures of stunted children due to the lack of a balanced food diet (38%), patients confined in clinics and hospitals because of missing health insurance fees, a wide spread of prostitution, vagabondage, illegitimate pregnancies and drug abuse among the youths, HIV/AIDS and so on. Our parliamentarians turn a blind eye to this shameful situation and they irresponsibly claim that Rwandan people are leading a happy life.

The figures published by the Ministry of Education in 2014 showed that 12,4% of the pupils abandon school at primary level. And 14,7% of the students give up studying at the level of high school. These children are located in hard labour like working in tea plantations and in mining companies. Now the question is: Why do children drop out of school while the regime of the RPF says that basic education is offered to all children gratis? Both the children and their parents point a finger on poverty-related problems as the cause of dropping out of school because they can’t study without food, clothes, school fees and school materials.

The narrative of development achieved by the government of the RPF is a fabricated story and should not be accredited anywhere. For instance, the regime says that the standards of basic education have been promoted considerably but in most schools 80 or more pupils are crammed in a small classroom that could receive not more than 40 pupils. In some schools, they serve lunch to the students but they only serve those who have paid while the government claims that all the children are fed freely. This selective treatment of the students in school causes serious problems because when other students go to the refectory at noon, hungry school girls go to prostitute themselves in the immediate vicinity to get meals, and as results they catch unwanted pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

In Gasabo District, 764 school girls including 28 girls aged under 15 delivered in their families only in one year (2017). These figures were announced by Deputy Mayoress Languida Nyirabahire on 6 June 2018 during a conference with the press while they were debating on the budgetary year of 2017/2018 and planning for the budget of 2018/2019.

This is not the only time when the problem of girls who are impregnated at a very young age is posed. In 2016, the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion published a report that 17.444 girls aged 16-19 were impregnated and this had serious consequences on their lives including leaving school. Article 145 of the Penal Code in Rwanda provides that anyone who has sex with a minor will be sentenced to life imprisonment with special provisions. Yet the majority of the abusers of these girls are not punished for several reasons: some are family members of the ruling elite, others are government officials and others are military or police officers. Only the low people are prosecuted even convicted for the crimes committed by the favorites of the regime. This impunity breeds familiarity with rape, fornication, adultery and sex abuse, and that’s why sex crime figures rise on a day-to-day basis.

How could one argue that Rwandan parliamentarians fulfil their duties while they do nothing to abolish ethnic segregation practiced in broad daylight on the soils of Rwanda? Even orphans and widows are segregated. For instance, the government of Rwanda financially aids Tutsi orphans and widows, gives them houses, pays their school fees and help them in every way possible. But the same government does not offer any form of aid to Hutu orphans and widows although it is the RPF/RPA that widowed and orphaned them. How could unity and reconciliation be achieved in such a segregationist climate?

In the definition of genocide there is a clause which states that to take people from a certain ethnic group and confine them in a place for a long time depriving them of reproduction, education and economic development is also a kind of genocide, a rampant genocide. However, Rwandan parliamentarians do not reckon that the fact that there are more than 40.000 Hutus who have been in jail since the power takeover by the RPF in 1994, not to mention tens of thousands who are disappeared every year, is an issue which history will bring in question. There is possibility that most of stunted children come from Hutu ethnic group and this can have something to do with the policy of stagnating one ethnic group as Major General Paul Kagame said after shooting down the jet of President Juvenal Habyarimana on 6 April 1994. He said, “Get women and children out of my way. I’m coming to change history to reduce the majority to the minority and promote the minority to the majority.”

Rwandan parliamentarians do not notice that numerous spendthrift air trips of President Paul Kagame are one among the major threats to Rwandan economy and are sufficient grounds for the parliament to pressure Kagame into resignation because he uses the powers conferred to him contrarily to the Constitution. The so-called parliamentarians do not realise that millions of money wasted by President Paul Kagame on Soccer clubs like “Kagame Cup” in which he spends US$60.000 every season and US$39.000.000 he recently gave to Arsenal which is one of the richest football clubs in Great Britain and in the world while a large proportion of Rwandans do not have pure water, food, shelter and other basic needs are offenses empeachable enough to have him deposed.

Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) usually criticises billions of Rwandan francs wasted on RPF entrepreneurs who do not comply with the signed contracts and do not pay their employees. Despite that, the same entrepreneurs continue to be given more markets in the stead of being brought to justice. The real cause behind such an imperfect system of government is that Rwandan parliamentarians do not work for the people but they serve Kagame and the RPF.

These days, as the preparations for the election of the parliamentarians during the current summer are in progress, the National Electoral Commission has announced that being a candidate to the parliament does not require whether one has a school degree or not. Thus, everybody is eligible. As we know, a parliamentarian should be competent enough to understand the people’s needs, especially basing on the projects planned for the good of the people. Then, how an illiterate parliamentarian will comprehend that a project serves the purpose of the people’s interests while he is not skilled enough to assess it? In a country’s development there is an inclusion of employing learned people capable to tackle the people’s conundrums and to examine the standards of economy on the international level.

This new system of having unlearned parliamentarians is a cunning plan to get lots of loud speakers for the RPF in the Parliament. The other issue is concerned with a selective discrimination and here a procedure of segregation can be observed. Among 80 parliamentarians required in the Rwandan Parliament, 53 will come from political parties and independent candidates made up of both sexes, male and female. There will be added 25 women, 1 parliamentarian representing the disabled and 1 parliamentarian for the youths. It is clear that the women are appointed differently from men while the egalitarian principle states that men and women should be treated equally. Moreover, they are all expected to fulfil the same responsibilities! Imagine a school where it is told that the girls there will be given an exam which is less difficult than the one given to the boys or that they will take 40% of the girls even if they are not able to pass the exam!

Behold! The majority of the parliamentarians will be women. The truth behind the scene is that women are easier to con than men. It is in that context that the RPF wants to have more women in the parliament so that its projects of law will pass without difficulty. If it’s not like that, how could countless young girls be raped and impregnated but still miss any fellow woman in the parliament to voice for their problems?

Written by:
Jean Rukika
A London-based activist
Tuesday, 3 July 2018