Opposition and diversity key in keeping leaders on toes

Saturday September 03 2022
Mukabunani photo

Christine Mukabunani, an English teacher-turned politician and co-founder of PS Imberakuri, one of the opposition political parties in the country. Picture: Ange Iliza.

By Ange Iliza

Why did you join politics?

I joined politics because I wanted my ideas to be heard. I have always been passionate about advocacy. I remember joining the first political party at a young age in 1991 because I believed it was the most effective way of getting my voice heard and highlighting what I thought needed to change.

Founding PS-Imberakuri was a way to maximize my platform and the impact of my advocacy. As a teacher, I had a fairly good understanding of some pressing issues facing teachers, our health sector, and my community. The PS-Imberakuri manifesto reflects such issues.

What has been the party’s contribution to Rwanda’s economic and social transformation?

We consider the recent 88 percent salary raise for teachers our most successful campaign. Like many other parties, we have been advocating for this for years and other reforms in our education.

For instance, we have advocated for nursing studies to begin in secondary schools instead of tertiary education and it has been done. We have also advocated for the ‘Mutuelle de Sante’ to be listed on Rwanda Social Security Board health insurance for better funding and monitoring, which has also been done.


The issues we advocate for have touched mainly the health and education sector because we believe they are key to economic and social transformation.

How has been your experience leading an opposition political party in Rwanda?

It has been a dynamic journey. The situation today is different from how it was when we started in 2008. I remember spending hours in jail with my baby at the time or being kicked out of meeting venues just because we were an opposition party.

I think both the government and the public have grown to understand — the importance of opposition and diversity of ideas. We have been able to build influence and gain the trust of many Rwandans and plan to keep that upward trend.

How is PS-Imberakuri preparing for the parliamentary elections in 2023 and presidential elections in 2024?

Yes, we will run in both elections, and we have started preparations. We are working on a new manifesto to update and include new issues that we want to advocate for mainly in health and the economy that have surfaced due to the Covid-19 pandemic effects.

We also provide training to our members across the country on political matters and our vision as a political

Bernard Ntaganda, co-founder of PS-Imberakuri was dismissed from the party in 2010, but he continues to lead a different half of PS-Imberakuri from abroad. Do you see this as a threat to the party’s growth and influence?

PS-Imberakuri does not consider Bernard Ntaganda as a threat at all.  He was dismissed by the party because he was taking decisions about the party without consulting any party members, among other issues.

His running a different party abroad is not a threat to us at all. It is all a charade that only exists in his mind. PS-Imberakuri advocates for real issues that affect the real lives of Rwandans.