Green Party renews calls for reforms to access funding
Friday March 03 2023
Opposition party Democratic Green Party (DGPR) has called for electoral reforms ahead of 2024 elections.
The DGPR wants sections of the electoral process related to funding and representation on the electoral commission changed. Party leader Dr Frank Habineza told Rwanda Today that the party plans to push for poll reforms, having failed to convince the Rwanda Governance
Board in 2017. The DGPR says it will lodge fresh appeal ahead of next year's election. The party's proposed reforms include allowing political parties to receive foreign donations and access government election funding before campaigns.
The party also seeks to be given seats on the electoral commission, to promote greater participation by political parties in the electoral process and provide a level playing field.
The 2013 law governing political organisations and politicians prohibits political parties from accepting donations and bequests from foreigners, foreign business companies, industries and organisations involved in other activities or in which foreigners are shareholders.
Political parties can only raise funds from their supporters, local donors, and the government.
The country's leadership has maintained that these restrictions are necessary to maintain the independence and integrity of political system.
Mr Habineza, who has confirmed his candidacy for the presidency in 2024, argues this is unfair and only favours larger parties including the ruling party.
He suggests that parties wishing to participate in an election be given funding beforehand.
“All that we appealed for in 2017 still stands and we plan to renew it hoping for changes in next year’s election,” Mr Habineza said.
In response to questions about whether opposition parties will be allowed to be represented on the electoral commission, executive secretary of the National Electoral Commission Charles Munyaneza,says political affiliations are irrelevant when it comes to selecting members of the commission. Rather, individuals are appointed based on their qualifications and expertise.
The National Electoral Commission recently changed leadership, following the passing of former Chairperson Dr Kalisa Mbanda, who had served in the role since 2012.
The new Chairperson Oda Gasinzigwa, has a background in politics, having previously served as the RPF, leading party's Commissioner in Charge of International Relations in 2019.
However, as Mr Munyaneza has made clear, political affiliations are not a factor in the appointment of commission members.