- October 1, 2017
- For the last 23 years, Rwanda has embarked on a steep journey to rebuild a nation all but destroyed by the 1994 genocide against Tutsi. The genocide left in its wake death, destruction, and despair. All socio-political institutions were left in shambles and Rwanda’s infrastructure and economy lay in ruin. Most experts predicted the country would become a failed state, or at best be under a permanent UN protectorate.
- This grim picture forms the backdrop from which Rwandans and their leaders charted a new and bold course to rebuild their nation by creating their own road-map and models where non-existent. They designed home-grown solutions, with an emphasis on several key pillars. These included, but are not limited to: insuring peace and security for all Rwandans and their property, implementing and safeguarding unity and reconciliation, promoting rule of law, fighting against impunity, and using of new technologies to address socio-economic challenges.
- These concerted efforts made by the people and the government of Rwanda has yielded results across the board. The 2015 Rwanda reconciliation barometer indicates that the status of reconciliation in Rwanda is at 92.5% and the people’s trust and confidence in national institutions of governance is on average over 90%; trust and solidarity among citizens is on average above 96%.
- Rwanda continues to engage in regional integration programs and has been a champion of the open borders’ policy, allowing all Africans to travel freely to Rwanda, boosting the economic exchanges that the continent needs. The development of Rwanda is inextricably linked to the whole African continent. The drive for African cooperation, and the relentless efforts Rwanda has put forth to make it a reality have earned Rwandan President Paul Kagame the trust and respect from other African Heads of State and as a resulted have entrusted him with the task of spearheading the African Union Reform.
- In today’s Rwanda, most structural barriers based on gender and ethnicity have been removed. Rwandan women participate and are leaders in all echelons of governance and leadership. More notably in the Parliament where Rwanda is a world leader in women representation with 64% women.
- Other groups of Rwandans such as the diaspora, are fully integrated in the development process of their country. Citizens’ outreach has become institutionalized; President Kagame and all high level political leaders regularly visit citizens, in their villages and in various countries where they are located, to hear their voices and solve problems on ground.
- The recent Presidential elections in Rwanda showed to the world that Rwandans can determine and pursue the future they want. The request by the people for President Kagame to run again and the subsequent election of President Kagame by an overwhelming majority was an expression of the people’s confidence and trust on his ability to take them to the level of their aspirations. The Independent Presidential elections observers hailed Rwanda’s elections as transparent, peaceful, free and fair. The Heads of Mission of the three Election Observer Missions (EOMs); EAC, COMESA, and ICGLR said, “… the election was free and fair and that it was held in a peace and secure atmosphere…”.
- They noted that the media, both public and private, played a crucial role in the campaigns by according balanced and equitable coverage to all the presidential candidates during campaigns in addition to highlighting the key policy issues that were at the heart of the campaigns. The electoral Observer Missions noted “the state-owned Rwanda Broadcasting Agency radio and television stations gave equal airtime to the three presidential candidates to market themselves to the electorate…”
- In international peace and security, not only is Rwanda the 5th major troops and police contributing Country, but is also a champion in the protection of civilians in conflict areas. 30 major troop and police contributing countries have so far endorsed Kigali principles on protection civilians in armed conflicts; a set of 18 pledges (principles) adopted in Kigali, Rwanda, by major troops and police contributing countries and partners, to implement certain best practices in peacekeeping.
Rwanda Media Barometer (2016):
- The Rwanda Media Barometer study findings indicate that, overall, the level of media development in the country stands at 69.6% (up from 60.7% in 2013 when the first media barometer was published). This represents an upward improvement of 8.9%−a figure also evidentially justified by the number of media outlets started since; laws enacted; the start of media self-regulation. In 2016, the Rwanda Governance Scorecard established that, 12 TV cables (1 public, 11 private) were on air in Rwanda. There were 36 radios, 80 online web based outlets, mainly private, community and civil Society Organizations (CSOs) owned.
- Most of the substantive explanation for these improved perceptions relate to the effect of the reforms that started in 2013 leading to the review of the media law; the creation of the self-regulation mechanism, the transformation of the state broadcaster to a public broadcaster, enacting access to information law and the increment of media outlets; especially television and radio stations as well as the increase in the web-driven media outlets and increased use of social media platforms and accessing news and information through telephony−a phenomenon that is expanding.
- The Rwandan constitution guarantees many basic rights and freedoms, including the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property. Democratic rights and freedoms are fundamental rights embedded in the constitution. The 2016 Rwanda Governance Scorecard indicated that performance indicator on political rights and civil liberties, was ranked “green” with an overall score of 81.83%; and its sub-indicators; democracy rights and freedom scoring over 83%; rights to media at 85.85%, and respect for human rights at 85.60%.
- Rwanda has ratified and domesticated all the major International and regional Human rights instruments. Rwanda has presented its report to the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Government openly and timely engages UPR Working Group and has subsequently demonstrated unwavering determination in the implementation of agreed recommendations in partnership with all stakeholders. The 2016 Rwanda Governance Scorecard, demonstrated that the respect for “core international human rights conventions” in Rwanda was at almost 98%.