RPP turns 7 as Rwandans go to polls without foreign meddling

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John V Karuranga, President Rwanda People's Party

The 18th of May 2017 marks the day that Rwanda People’s Party (RPP) turns seven since its inception and this important moment happen in the context of Rwanda’s August 4 presidential elections.

At this occasion, while RPP supports positive efforts taken by the Rwandan government to promote economic growth, pursue justice for victims of genocide and crime, strengthen democracy and recognize rights of returning refugees, it also want to caution against domestic and global issues that undermine Rwanda’s as well African countries’ search of social and economic progress and smooth conduct of international relations.

In the domestic context, RPP is particularly concerned of escalating housing market prices, violent attacks against Rwanda civilians by Burundi-based militia and justice for victims of genocide.

At the international stage, RPP would like to call for continued inclusive peace negotiations in Burundi and calls for the initiation of Somalia peace talks with the aim of ending violent conflict.

In addition, in the spirit of RPP’s core values of peace, democracy and self-reliance, RPP would like to take this opportunity to caution against external interference in electoral and peace processes and the devastating effects of foreign aid on Rwanda as well as African economies.

At the outset, Rwanda People’s Party (RPP) notes with satisfaction the EU’s forethought decision not to send election observers to Rwanda.

RPP also takes cognizance that the forthcoming election takes place when RPP’s grassroots support base is increasingly widening.

Over the past years the RPP has supported activities aimed at bringing about prosperity, social and economic development to the people of Rwanda. These projects aim at improving citizen’s welfare. Nevertheless, there is a still a lot to be done.

In this regard, the RPP calls upon the Rwanda government to closely regulate real estate sector and particularly the steeply rising land housing markets.

Lack of closer monitoring and regulation has encouraged excessive pricing leading to a distorted real estate market and inflated land prices with real estate developers selling properties at over 30-50% above the market value.

It’s quite inconceivable that buying a house in Rwanda is too expensive than buying a house in a metropolitan London or in similar large western cities.

If left unchecked, excessive pricing can lead to serious financial crises, loss of jobs and economic destabilization and therefore eroding confidence in the government and institutions.

To create a strong, transparent, affordable and professional real estate industry, RPP appeals to the Rwandan government to impose and implement high quality ethical and governance standards for real estate developers.

Such standards should ensure real estate stakeholders are equipped with accurate information on market dynamics including investor quality and property ownership records, valuation and sales.

To encourage a balanced access and participation in the real estate market, affordable housing should be concern of the government’s urban development policies and economic strategies.

The RPP also calls on the Rwanda to enact an Emergency Rwanda Finance and Banking Law. Given the unpredictability of foreign capital flows, RPP is convinced that it is crucial to encourage household savings and ensuring financial discipline domestic savings so as to protect the economy.

The RPP believes that a significant  amount of domestic savings are not in the formal banking economy as either ordinary Rwandans do not see the incentive to save or are increasingly hampered by the banks’ elevated minimum deposit requirements, bank account maintenance costs, low wages as well as absence of rural and community banks.

Keeping cash out of the banks undermines the economy by eroding lending capacity, weaken tax revenue base, and create employment as well as well as triggering inflation.

This underscores the need to have an efficient banking a monetary policy environment that will encourage the majority of the population to access banking services by facilitating affordable rural banking and competitive interest rates.

RPP believe that this approach will raise gross domestic savings, the ability of banks to lend out to small business enterprises and charge interest rates and in the long run reduce reliance on foreign capital.

In addition, the RPP is saddened by the brutal killing of two Rwandans in Kabuga village, Ryankana cell, Bugarama Sector in Rusizi district, by Burundian Imbonakure Militias, on March 13, 2017 and the burning to death of two homeless children in Muhima Sector, Nyarugenge District, by unknown assailants on 29 April 2017.

The RPP strongly condemns such acts of brutal and unacceptable violence.  RPP believes that the Rwandan government has the right and duty to demand that the Burundi government arrest and extradite to Rwanda the perpetrators of these horrific crimes.

Equally important, the RPP strongly condemns the killing of an innocent Rwandan citizen in Gikondo, Kigali by two drunken Rwandan soldiers who were on night curfew.

The RPP calls on the authorities in Rwanda to ensure that the two culprits are brought to justice and held accountable so as to deter such barbaric acts.

The RPP would like to extend its condolences, to relatives and families of the Kabuga, Muhima and Gikondo victims.

The party has been campaigning for the return of Rwandan refugees and continues to demand for justice for the victims of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis.

The party is encouraged with the number of Refugees that have returned home and also overwhelmed by the international response in its call to bring to justice perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.

We believe that the only way to ensure that this Never happens again is by setting a standard that allows the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights to prevail over the rule anarchy, disorder and despotism.

In this regard, the RPP  encourages the French authorities to act swiftly to arrest  Ex-Far and Interahamwe and French citizens suspected of participation in the Rwandan genocide, that were left to roam the streets of France with blood on their hands  by the by previous governments.

With regard to democracy, the RPP supported the removal of presidential term limits, because a presidential term limit is a function of the exercise of collective will of the peoples. European Nations have no term limits but that doesn’t mean that Europeans have no democracy in Europe.

Indeed, they enjoy abundant democracy. The RPP believes that democracy is about free and fair election process that gives citizens of a country the right to choose and to remove their leaders through election suffrage.

It should be stated that democracy is about the people’s collective rights, aspirations and welfare. It’s not about the tyranny of the majority but a political process that ensures equal participation and respect of for individual rights and freedoms as well as society’s collective decision on form of its government.

Thus, Africa’s problem is not the absence of term limits. Rather the problem is poverty and lack of economic and political resources to build viable democratic structures.

It is quite self-defeating to believe that any given nation can build up a strong democracy on pledges of foreign aid since the interests of the foreign backers/funders will fundamentally differ from that of fund receivers.

It is also wrong to believe that Africans can survive on imported democracy because of social, cultural and value differences. In this regard, extent Rwanda as well as other African nations needs a different model of democracy.

The Rwanda People’s Party (RPP) believes in self-reliance and is consequently opposed to free foreign aid flowing into African countries and crippling African economies, fueling conflict and under-development.  Africa is rich in natural and mineral resources.

However, the willingness of western powers to provide free money to Africa without any meaningful accountability has crippled the African appetite and struggle for self-reliance. Aid-dependent African countries continually view aid as permanent, reliable and consistent source of income.

African governments have no reason to believe that free money will stop coming and they therefore have no motivation for long-term financial planning.

The West has been providing free money to Africa for decades yet economic and social effects of such aid are quite the opposite of economic growth, peace and democracy. Aid has proven to be disastrous to Africa as it foments civil wars and conflicts.

Numerous armed groups are increasingly motivated at the prospect of seizing governmental power so as to get access to unlimited wealth of free foreign aid. In this way foreign aid has promoted disorder, lawlessness and impunity.

Foreign aid has chocked off domestic investment, instilled a culture of dependency, fostered rampant and systematic corruption, weakened the rule law and propelled African countries into a vicious cycle of aid, extreme poverty and under-development.

We therefore appeal that the West substitutes direct financial aid to Africa with technological transfer and foreign direct investment.

There is no doubt, no reason for us not to believe that agriculture is the backbone of African social, political and economic development. Agriculture is the main source of employment that can employ almost 85% of the African workforce.

Today, in some aid-dependent African countries, people die of hunger and starvation. Yet Africa has very fertile agricultural lands and favourable climatic conditions throughout the year.

If Africa can employ modern agricultural techniques, Africa can produce enough food to feed her people and surplus to feed the whole Europe.

Developing modern Agricultural industries in Africa has always been and remains the main challenge that affects Africa because of lack of resources or lack of interest from foreign donors that have turned Africa into western supermarkets, through globalizations.

The RPP would like to play a positive role by securing vital support needed to revive African agricultural industries. In this regard, the party has negotiated with various global partners that would be willing to supply crucial agricultural inputs including fertilizers, farm machinery and raw materials.

The program is voluntary and no conditions are imposed except that any participating government or customer must provide a pledge in the form of Bank Guarantee (BG), Standby Letter of Credit (SLC) and /or Deferred Payment Letter of Credit (DPLC), allowing payments of individual consignment to be settled during the last day 180 days or before without demand.

The offer would benefit Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia but hopefully it can be extended to countries such as Sudan, Egypt, Eretria, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Djibouti and Somalia. The group will also support and finance the transport infrastructures such as railway and petrochemical pipelines.

This is how the RPP can help facilitate the building of the continent-Africa by using the influence it has in the European Capitals to secure such vital support that can help Africa to revitalize its  agricultural industries and transport infrastructures.

The RPP is totally against the production and dissemination of fake news all around the world. Africa suffered decades of colonial brutality as result of false reporting and stereotypes.

Africa has also continued to suffer brutality of postcolonial era as a result of fake and falsified narratives developed and perpetuated in western academic, political and entertainment circles.

We believe in a free and democratic society built on the foundations of responsible free press and their ability to report on news without fear of persecution or intimidation. But we also believe that the work of journalists is not to disseminate fake news and misinformation.

The RPP calls on the international community to consider fake news as international terrorism and to properly punish individuals and groups involved in the production and dissemination of fake news.

The RPP commends the Tanzania-based newspaper that expelled 8 journalists for publishing fake news that involved President Magufuli and President Trump. We believe the paper showed a high degree of accountability. We call upon the government of Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and the rest of Africa to follow the example.

The Rwanda People’s Party (RPP) continues to be saddened by the continuing instability in Burundi where crimes akin to genocide are taking place and where Burundian women are been rapped and sexually abuse on regular basis by the Imbonakure militias in the presence of the international community.

Meanwhile, the RPP agrees with the international community that the future prospect of Burundi lies in the hands of the Burundian people themselves and not in the hands of regional states or the international community.

The continuing political instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo also undermines the prospects for peace in that country. This year alone, an estimated 4.6 million refugees were displaced from their homes and over 4700 Congolese people flee daily as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) managed by the western non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in provinces of Kasia, as well as North and South Kivu.

The RPP condemns acts of NGOs and other special interest groups that promote insecurity in the DRC to their own advantage.  We call on all those engaged in promoting these senseless fights to halt the conflict so as to end suffering of the Congolese people.

We also call upon the international community to pull the MONUSCO contingent out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as their presence there rather encourages violence than curbing it.  RPP takes note that the International Community has totally failed to build and protect peace in the DRC.

The RPP also calls upon the warring parties in Somalia to end the war and engage in constructive dialogue aimed at finding ways for peaceful resolution of the conflict.

RPP is deeply concerned that that despite the huge presence of international troops to assist the government, the violence has continued unabated with devastating costs to human life and property.

The continuing violence will breed only more violence and no conflict party would be able to defeat the other without fuelling further conflict. RPP would therefore like to stress for all parties to engage in constructive dialogue to reach a political solution on the future of the country.

RPP also stresses the need for western powers to avoid inflammatory rhetoric on conflict parties particularly Al-Shabaab and other armed groups in Somalia this only serves only to sow divisions  between the warring parties and derail the peace building process.

While RPP supports the initiation of peace talks between the government of Somalia and the Al-Shabaab and recognizes the peace-making efforts by regional partners, RPP is also concerned that the presence of foreign troops has the potential of prolonging the conflict and suffering of the Somalian people.

We therefore call upon the countries with troops in Somalia to encourage peace talks and pull out troops so as to enable a national political process to take place. There is no doubt that neglecting the Somali refugees indeed strengthens the Al-Shabab fighting position.

The RPP believes that it is misplaced for foreigners to try to impose their will on Somali people. As much as we strongly condemn Al-Shabaab, we also believe that the destiny of Somali people lies in their hands and not in the hands of foreigners.

The RPP is extremely concerned that the international community can afford the money to support foreign troops fighting in Somalia but not the money to support millions of Somali refugees who are dying of curable diseases, hunger and starvation.

The European Union, spends over 88 million tons on wasted food a year at the cost of 143 billion Euros, yet the same European nations cannot find moral or humanitarian reason to raise money to feed the dying refugees in Somalia, Libya, South Sudan, DRC, Darfur etc.

There is no doubt that these wasted funds could have prevented and cured these unimaginable, catastrophic and gruesome famines and on-going violent wars  in the Somalia, Darfur, (Sudan), South Sudan, Libya, DRC , Syria , North East- Nigeria and Burundi.

The Funds would also have helped to end the ongoing cross Mediterranean human trafficking hazard where thousands of African migrants, asylum seekers and refugees perish at sea.  With the European Union devising action plans to prevent helpless African from reaching European shores,  it is quiet distressing that African leaders have continued to abdicate the responsibility to take action  and continue to expect the west to do much for Africa.

The Rwanda People’s Party (RPP) notes with high regards, that the EU will not send a team of observers to Rwandan presidential elections, in order not to vindicate the will of Rwandan people.

This is in conformity with the RPP’s conviction that neither the EU nor any foreign power has moral authority to oversee Rwanda’s elections because the people of Rwandan are independent and informed citizens capable of exercising their dignity and free will in the electoral process without external and foreign supervision.

Rwanda is an independent nation based on self-rule and Rwandan people need no outside power to oversee their electoral decisions or outcome. We believe that the August election will be free and fair and that the outcome of the election will represent the true collective will of the people of this great nation.

The RPP believes that the abstention of the EU observers is not only a victory for Rwanda alone, but it is also a victory and pride for Africa democracy.

It demonstrates that Africa is capable of taking its destiny in its own hands and Rwanda will be used as a role model for other African nations. RPP is aware that the European Union will send observers to monitor Kenya’s presidential elections and considers that Kenya’s forthcoming presidential election should be the last African election whose outcome has to be overseen and validated by foreign powers.

Nonetheless, we take this opportunity to wish the Kenyan people a peaceful, free and fair election.

We firmly believe that Africa is not only capable of organizing free and fair elections, but also developing its own economies. We understand that Africa’s quest to assert its will and agency in international politics is constantly being undermined by powerful, egoistic and rich nations and organizations.

This is the fundamental problem facing Africa today.  Nonetheless, RPP would like to commend the AU, on behalf of Africa, for its increasing and valuable role in international relations, particularly the efforts to establish a regional collective security regime, eradicate extreme poverty, protect human rights, defend the sovereignty of African states and demand the reform of the United Nations and United Nations Security Council.

Fellow Rwandans, friends of Rwanda and well-wishers; on the 4th of August, the people of Rwanda will vote overwhelmingly in a democratic process to elect a leader who will lead them for the next 7 years.

RPP believes that the presidential elections in Rwanda concern the people of Rwanda who pride and toil in building their nation. It is Rwandan citizens who understand the plight of their nation and offer their lives, time, energy and resources to chart the country’s destiny and they are therefore the ones who are legitimate actors in the electoral process.

The Rwanda People’s Party (RPP) takes this occasion to encourage all Rwandans to exercise their will and constitutional right to vote.  This is a precious time to exercise our collective will and freedom in how we want our country to be governed for the next seven years.

RPP would like to extend its best of wishes and luck to all the presidential candidates. RPP pledges that, in the course of next year, it will continue to support the will of the Rwandan people and any projects aimed at developing Africa as a continent and people.

Ultimately, we  take this opportunity to thank all the members of the RPP for their trust and continued support and to reiterate our determination to promote democracy, justice and equality, respect for the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights which are RPP’s core values,

Thank you and May the Almighty God bless the people of this great nation, Rwanda.

John V Karuranga, President Rwanda People’s Party (RPP)

 www.rwandapeopleparty.org

e-rppimvura@yahoo.com

  Twitter @rppimvura

Skype: John.Karuranga  

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