Ntawukuliryayo proposes radical reforms for PSD presidency


Muhanga: Social Democratic Party (PSD) candidate, Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo, opened his challenge for the presidency proposing to revise the existing 30 percent quota for women in parliament in favour of competitive politics.

Our dear sisters need to be voted on their merit to the legislature, Ntawukuliryayo told hundreds of supporters in Muhanga district, Southern Rwanda. 

According to him, the women will achieve more equality and a higher percentage of seats than they currently enjoy.

PSD flag-bearer Ntawukuriryayo responds to ululation from supporters in Muhanga, Southern Rwanda (All Photos: Gaaki Kigambo)

High women representation in parliament is one of the highlights of Paul Kagame’s government off which it has reaped considerable political mileage.

A 2008 study in the Oxford University Journal noted how although women representation had made it possible for women’s issues to be raised more easily and more often than before, it had neither changed the working hours or calendar of parliament nor had any significant effect on policy outputs. The study, however, does not attribute this to women having a determined quota in the House.

Ntawukuliryayo, a deputy speaker of parliament and his party’s secretary general, also proposed all levels of governance and administration from the national level right down to the village level should be equally shared among political parties. He added that the local councils in particular should have absolute power over their areas of jurisdiction. Currently, power sharing is limited to the national level. Other positions beyond that are filled supposedly on merit.

PSD members including Senate President Dr. Vincent Biruta (4th from Left) were there to rally supporters

Ntawukuliryayo, who is credited for turning around the ministry of health, unveiled these proposals to a fully-packed pavilion in Muhanga District’s main stadium. They are part of his campaign platform emphasising good policies and governance, improved social welfare, better regional relations, integration and cooperation, unity, reconciliation and fighting all sorts of discrimination, and good economic investments. 

He was welcomed into the stadium with traditional dances, wild ululations, applauses. Every so often, the campaign’s rallying call, we never delayed, we were prepared, this is the time, went out and was received with deafening responses. If it wasn’t that, it was the party’s tagline: Justice, Solidarity and Development. 

In other issues, Ntawukuliryayo emphasised the agricultural budget must be raised to 10 percent if the country is to attain food security. He proposed a fund to support farmers in rural areas access farming supplies they need.
In 2003, governments of African countries, including Rwanda, agreed under the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) to raise their agricultural budgets to ten percent.

PSD die-hards could not hide their support

Yet in 2010, Rwanda allocated only seven percent to its agricultural sector, which accounts for 40 percent of the country’s GDP and employs up to 80 percent of the total population. Its argument is that the current infrastructure cannot support such an increase.

As part of his economic investment plans, Ntawukuliryayo said it was important to establish rural industries to consume farmers’ produce in the given areas. To start this off would require a rural investment fund which he said would take money from commercial banks closer to those who need it to improve their lives.

He touched on issues of justice, noting that justice should be for all, cases in the court systems should be speeded out. He proposed to review the provisional detention policy noting it should only be applied in exceptional cases such as when the person in question is a serious threat to the nation’s security.

He noted that as a party, PSD had matured and all through its existence demonstrated its capability through the contributions it has made on all levels of governance and administration. For that reason, he didn’t have any need to talk about the other parties or even compare his, or his candidature, with any other. He reiterated his confidence that his party would be voted into office on the strength of its remarkable record.

Born PSD?: In these two images, PSD seemed to have been enjoying support among all age groups