Six Rwandan journalists vie for local leadership posts

Director of Radio Salus, Eugene Hagabimana is running for councilor

Director of Radio Salus, Eugene Hagabimana is running for councilor

At least six Rwandan journalists have stood for local administrative positions in the districts of Kamonyi, Muhanga and Nyanza in the southern province, setting an all-time record of the biggest number of journalists to vie for political positions.

The journalists, include Peacemaker Mbungiramihigo, the executive secretary of Media High Council (MHC), Eugéne Hagabimana, the director of Radio Salus , Béninge Mugisha, reporter for Imvaho Nshya, Butare Léonard, Mukayiranga Rose and Latifa Akimana- all working for the national broadcaster (Radio and Television Rwanda).

Most of the reporters have previously and still work for the public radio and Television and are counting on their popularity to win the council seats in their respective districts but some believe that their experience in the field will come in handy.
“We have the experience to perform duties that can change our communities” said EugéneHagabimana, one of the journalists.
Residents in southern province believe that the media figures can be good choices for the posts of councilors and mayors; but have demanded for close collaboration with residents.

“We want the leaders to work closely with us and listen to our needs. Most of them don’t come back to consult after elections yet there are issues at hand like increased education support for rural areas and access to health facilities,” said Esperencen Mukamana, a resident of Muhanga sector.

While some media practitioners and lecturers have ventured into politics around the country, they haven’t been successful at the grassroots.

Jules Ndamagaje the former mayor of Kicukiro district is the only one who managed to become the first media personality to win such a position. Other journalists like Bosco Kwizera, of Radio and TV Rwanda attempted to follow suit but failed in 2010.

The national electoral commission (NEC) said on Monday that the voter turnout was at 90 per cent in sector councilors’ elections.

Out of 2,068 candidates, only 853 district councilors were elected on Monday —in a secret ballot across the 2,312 polling centres constituting 16,126 polling stations countrywide.

The district mayors will be elected from these elected sector councilors, who will have to cast a secret ballot to choose 30 mayors and assistant mayors (for social affairs) across the country next month.