Opposition parties have their space to keep govt in checks

Sunday October 23 2022
Veneranda Nyirahirwa

Veneranda Nyirahirwa, second Vice President of PSD political party. Photo | Ange Iliza

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda Today's Ange Iliza spoke with Member of Parliament and Second Secretary of PSD, Veneranda Nyirahirwa, on the party’s status, political ambitions and undelivered promises ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections slated for 2023 and 2024 respectively

Why did you leave your own business to join politics?

Like many Rwandans in the 2000s, politics was feared, stereotyped and not a career option especially for women. Most of us have had depressing experiences with political parties. Upon finishing high school, I moved to Kigali from my home district Ngoma, eastern Rwanda, to start my own business, a retail shop. My plan was to make sure I never cross paths with anything to do with politics.

In 2000, I joined PSD as a volunteer because its members seemed integral, and grounded, with more solidarity than any other party. I was inspired, and I felt seen and heard when I joined. In 2008, I was elected to join its leading committee and ended up being elected to represent the party in the parliament as well.

We do not have to shout or fight to be an opposition party. This has been my outstanding experience in Rwanda’s political space. Working with people who hold different opinions and beliefs from me has been the highlight for me.

What is your take on intra-political party conflicts and how they undermine activities of opposition?


Conflicts are innate and a sign of dynamic political space. I do not think this is a concern. When people disagree, as long as the conflicts are resolved lawfully, Rwanda will be fine.

In my experience, these conflicts do not necessarily arise from political disagreements, in most cases, people get selfish, shortsighted, or paranoid. Such behaviours are toxic in politics, they bore conflicts sooner or later. This has nothing to do with Rwanda as a country but with political parties that are not visionary enough.

In the 2018, parliamentary electoral campaigns, PSD promised Rwandans to introduce cable cars in Kigali, and start an agriculture bank, none of which was done. Were there particular challenges or the promises were just unrealistic?

PSD has no executive powers, but we promise our members what we believe can be attained. We are still committed to achieving what we promise no matter  the timeline.

The party, like many other aspects of the country, is also recovering from delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. What Rwanda achieved since 2018 is commendable, as active members of the government, we do our part. We advocate for solidarity and justice as our manifesto stipulates and will continue to do so.

How is PSD prepared for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in the next two years?

The party is prepared. We recently reformed our manifesto and held a general assembly in February. We will soo resume meetings with our members on grass root level to educate and prepare them for the elections.