Diane Shima Rwigara, 35, recently announced plans to run against Rwandan president Paul Kagame, she reveals on what motivated her to stand, her little known leadership track record and the political environment in Rwanda. She seeks and hopes a better Rwanda, where people could not be harassed or penalised for their views and opinions, The Monitor reports.
Holding a Master’s in Accounting since 2007, the lady holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from California State University, Sacramento. She made her primary studies in Ecole Belge of Kigali, then in Burundi and Belgium.
Daughter to late billionaire Assinapol Rwigara who succumbed in a sudden road accident two years ago(February 4th, 2015), she announced her intentions to contest for the Rwandan presidency early last may.
Her decision was made as she realised many issues in Rwanda, that no politician is willing to address. “I got tired of waiting for somebody else to do it. I want to do it myself”, she said to The Monitor.
Among other issues, Diane Rwigara talks of poverty, where people are dying of hunger in parts of Rwanda, high unemployment rate, exorbitant taxes, etc, adding forced disappearances and assassinations, but noting “the main issue is fear of the state”.
She said, “I mean the issue at the root is fear. How are we going to find solutions to all these problems if we are not allowed to talk about them; if we are too afraid to bring them up?”
“Rwanda needs new, fresh blood for things to change. Our politicians have proved themselves inefficient. Besides, there is no better experience than knowing and sharing the suffering of the masses”.
Moreover, Diane Rwigara talks of lack of political and business space in Rwanda. “all have to think, say, or do as the ruling party expects you to, there is no place for you in Rwanda. Or if there is, they will make sure it is a very unpleasant place”.
Saying so however, her family has been able to do business in Rwanda, without anyone to tampered or stop them from doing business.
But Diane Rwigara declares, “it is extremely difficult for Rwandans to do business or politics in Rwanda if they are not in good favour with Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).”
The young lady hopes very high chances if the elections are free and democratic, expecting victory if the elections are fair and transparent.
Being unfair to president Kagame, by whom Rwanda has become the “symbol of successful Africa”, Diane says “The focus of this government has been to sell a positive image of Rwanda to the outside world. And they have succeeded at that. What that image does not include is the suffering of the majority of Rwandans left behind by a system rigged for the few top members of the ruling party who control all the wealth of our country.”
About nude pictures on social media just a day after she announced her intentions, she says “The fake nudes are just one of many tactics being used to silence me. But I will not be silenced. On the contrary all these prove how much our country needs change. New blood.
As things stand now, we have politicians who do not understand the idea of a political debate and who instead resort to tawdry and tasteless tactics.
I would rather we talk about the current situation in Rwanda and the serious issues at hand but my opponents seem to be more interested in making diversion because they know they cannot win the argument. They cannot dispute facts on the current situation in Rwanda.”
And about changing constitutions to allow leaders rule beyond their mandated terms, Diane Rwigara takes it as threats to regional stability and democracy. “It also shows a certain sense of entitlement from our leaders”, she adds.
In her plans, a non-discriminative political environment that is inclusive for all Rwandans, to ensure political space and accommodate all views and opinions.
Regarding economy, she will strive to remove the economic gap and inequality, to provide equal opportunities to compete for government tenders and procurement deals, regardless of who they are or their political affiliation.
On development, Rwandans will be involved decision making process, contribute and understand how they are governed, and hold their government accountable.
Finally, on basic rights, all Rwandans will have a right to a home and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare and food.
Jean Baptiste Karegeya