European MPs laugh at critics against Rwanda

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By Arnold Kwizera

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Members of the European Union Parliament committee on gender and women’s rights have condemned critics that undermine the decision Rwandans have made to amend their constitution.

Last year, Rwandans voted for constitutional amendment which maintained the mandates for a president to two, but reduced a term to five years renewable only once, from seven years previously.

Many arguments against this constitution were made from the West, especially when it comes to a paragraph that allows the current President to seek reelection for a third term before the application of the 5 year term provision.

The MPs have a different argument since they believe that each country has a right to decide their own political path.

“As the European Union we believe that individual countries have a right to conduct their affairs in a manner that guarantees the rights of every citizen are respected. We are not here to judge and teach anything but rather to learn from each other,” said Iraxte Gracias Perez, the head of a-8 people delegation of the EU Members of Parliament.

The Spanish member of the European parliament made this comment while speaking at a press conference to mark the end of a four day working visit to Rwanda.

Madam Perez’s comment was far from the position held by some members of the European Union who were not satisfied by the choice made by Rwandan citizens in last year’s referendum.

Her statement comes at a time when President Paul Kagame called on for mutual respect among countries as a way of ensuring developmental benefits in his lecture to students at Yale University on Monday.

“Universal values must focus on outcomes, rather than fundamentalism about process, where no one holds a monopoly of wisdom. Imagine how much more we could do together if we always relate to each other in a spirit of humility and mutual respect,” Kagame said.

In regard to the issue of wanted genocide suspects that have found solace in the European Union country members, Mrs. Perez said the European parliament is investigating the matter.

“We believe that each country has its own justice system and we are carrying out inquiries as the European Union to ensure justice is given to all,” she said.

 

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