Women account for six of the nine MPs that were elected by the Parliament to represent Rwanda in the east African Legislative Assembly (EALA). This implies a 22.2 percentage point increase from over 44.4 per cent in the concluding Assembly, where they were four.
The MPs were elected on Monday, December 12 by the electorate consisting of the plenary sitting of both chambers of Parliament – the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
The EALA MPs are Fatuma Nyirakobwa Ndangiza, Caroline Kayonga Rwivanga, Mathias Harebamungu, Francine Rutazana, Aisha Nyiramana, Clement Musangabatware, Françoise Uwumukiza, Alodie Iradukunda, and Alex Bahati.
Elected MPs comprise six from political organisations, namely Ndagiza, Rwivanga, Harebamungu, Rutazana, Nyiramana, and Musangabatware.
Of these MPs, three are from Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Inkotanyi political party and include; Ndangiza, Harebamungu, and Rwivanga.
The three other MPs are from other political parties, with Rutazana coming from Liberal Party (PL), while Nyiramana and Musangabatware are joining EALA on the Social Democratic Party (PSD) ticket.
The remaining three are from special interest groups. They are Uwumukiza from the National Women Council, Iradukunda from the National Youth Council (who has been its coordinator), and Bahati from the National Council of Persons with Disabilities.
Overall, 24 candidates were vying for representing Rwanda in EALA.
MP Uwumukiza said that her focus will be on supporting women cross borders for trade, because she realised that they have special problems, such as lack of access to loans because they do not have the required collateral.
“I will continue to support women through a motion that exposes the issues of lack of finance, … and absence of portability of medical insurance where you find that when a woman has medical insurance from Rwanda, she cannot use it to cover treatment outside the country,” she said.
“All these are actions we should do so that women are able to run cross-border trade, and they move from the micro businesses so that they make development strides and benefit both their families and country,” she said.
MP Musangabatware from PSD promised “to work with others to achieve the progress of the East African Community, through enacting laws that help to speed up development in terms of politics, governance, trade, infrastructure, people’s welfare”.
Over 55 per cent of the MPs are new entrants
Out of the nine elected MPs, five are new to EALA, representing over 55.5 per cent. These include Harebamungu, who served as Rwandan Ambassador to Senegal for 5 years, after holding the position of Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education.
Others are Rwivanga who worked in various ministries, including serving for eight years as the Permanent Secretary in the former Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Health.
They also include Nyiramana, who has been a lecturer for 23 years at the University of Rwanda; and Musangabatware, a former Deputy Ombudsman in charge of Preventing and fighting Corruption for seven years, from 2013 to 2020; and Iradukunda, who has been the coordinator of National Youth Council.
Meanwhile, four of the MPs – or over 44.4 per cent – secured re-election. They are Ndangiza, Rutazana, Uwumukiza, and Bahati, who have been members of the current EALA Assembly which started in 2017 and will come to an end on December 17.