Kigali: The presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Ntawukuriryayo Jean Damascene, heads to his first set of rallies in the Western Province a much energised man following a powerful rally in Huye capping off a successful week of campaigning in the Southern Province.
Nobody could hide their excitement for Ntawukuriryayo Jean Damascene (Photo: Gaaki Kigambo)
It was a week in which he was received with loud cheers and wild merrymaking by his supporters who never tired chorusing the party’s tagline – Justice, Solidarity and Development – and their candidate’s rallying call: We never delayed, we were prepared, this is the time.
It was a week in which he was invited to join endless celebratory dances, started others himself and showed off his dance moves or sometimes simply sat back and revelled in the spectacle.
But most importantly, it was a week in which he laid out his party’s platform, outlined his candidature’s agenda, tailored his messages to the communities in which he held rallies and simply asked Rwandans for their votes.
Although his programme of action if elected president contains 30 issues, Ntawukuriryayo has, throughout his week in the South, emphasised more the need to review how women are represented in parliament by scrapping the 30 percent quota and ensuring they come up to an equal level with men.
He has also emphasised power sharing from the national level down to the village level and improving the welfare of individual Rwandans by improving agricultural practises, setting up funds or cooperatives to support local initiatives and industries, to further strengthen the health sector and to roll out programmes aimed at sensitising Rwandans on the need to control population growth.
Not much is expected to change in the general talking points although one can be sure the details of his campaigns will change for the simple reason that the Southern Province is not the same as the Western Province.
What’s more, as he canvasses for votes today in Nyamasheke and Rusizi, the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) will not be far away combing the areas of Karongi and Rutsiro where Ntawukuriryayo plans to go to the following day on July 27.
He, undoubtedly, will have to prove to Rwandans in these communities that he is the better candidate and that his party has better programmes for them. This year’s presidential race is seen as largely being between Ntawukuriryayo and Kagame.
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