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Why are on-going democratic processes in many countries, in particular African countries, are so fragile that divergent interests, most often individual interests between people or groups of people on power, are enough to leave them into oblivion? As evidence, one can mention regular political crises in these countries most of the time resulting from conflicts of personal ambitions or sectarian interests among politicians on power. Unfortunately, these conflicts that could be most of the time settled lead to serious political crises and even bloody wars.
Some people explain this fragility of democratic processes by the lower level of political education of communities, who do not yet know how to define and impose their interests. Others put the blame rather on political organisations themselves, which are incapable of promoting the recognized values of the democratic ideal and to defend the choices expressed by communities. You will find some others who castigate the complicity of political organizations with the power; hence the accusations from all sides that political organisations are in complicity with the power or corrupted by the latter.

All political parties members of the Forum

This calling out to political organisations regarding the failure of democratic processes is justified in most cases. If anyone needs convincing, one only has to recall the responsibility of Rwandan political parties in the total denial of democratic values through steady propaganda of ethnic exclusion from independence, in 1962, until the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which was the consequence of such exclusion!
It should be mentioned that this decried incapacity for political organisations to play the role, which they nonetheless claim, of being stakeholders in democratic processes reinforcement may be of ideological nature because the political organisation simply does not have either an ideal or values to defend. Or this incapacity may originate from and be explained by the very absence of institutional and organisational capacities giving a political organisation the power needed to promote its ideal and defend the values it claims to epitomize.
From this bitter assessment of the very responsibility of political organisations in the fragility of democratic processes, one may in part understand the importance given to capacity building programmes intended for political organisations in Rwanda and thereby understand the meaning and rationale of the mission entrusted to the National Consultative Forum of Political Organizations in Rwanda as established by Article 56 of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.
With UNDP support, the Forum, defining itself as a space for political dialogue and a platform for political organisations- centred capacity building , has been developing since 2010 specific party leadership programmes, particularly intended for youths and women. These programmes focus not only on political ideology concepts underlying political organisations’ identities but also on political and communication competition capacities, which constitute the only democratic way to accede to power.
More than 660 young leaders from different political organisations members of the Forum have so far been trained under the Youth Political Leadership Academy (YLPA), that is 66 youths per political organisation.
This program graduates are currently playing a big role in their party development in different ways: Graduates from the YPLA are members of the NFPO observers’ missions for the national elections. For the previous parliamentary elections, they were 33 YPLA graduates out of the 100 observers to be deployed all over the country. Again, many graduates have played significant roles in the electoral campaigns and then the graduates trained fellow party members in campaigning training skills, or helped to organize campaign rallies or get-out-the-vote efforts.
Others participated by serving as political party agents at polling stations.

UNDP Country coordinator attending NFPO activities

A part from being employed in electoral planning activities, others graduates have been on the electoral list for election campaigning for the 2013 parliamentary elections, the PSD party has elected party leaders at District level and 10 out of 30 are YPLA graduates. The same party has also appointed 19 YPLA graduates to be part of the list of 76 members. The PS Imberakuri has appointed 21out of 45 in the final list from the YPLA graduates and the Liberal Party (PL) has appointed 21 out of 64.
As for the women- centred specific programme (gender leadership programme), it has already been implemented in all the provinces of the country where each political organisation brings together its female leaders. The purpose of this programme is, indeed, to promote female leadership within political organisations.

Mr. KAYIGEMA Anicet NFPO Executive Secretary with trainees

The NFPO developed a training project aiming at urging women in political organizations’ leadership organs to approach other women of political organizations to share ideas on womens’ importance and role in leadership. Efforts to strengthen women political parties’ wings in the 11 parties through training saw all political parties establish women’s wings at provincial levels, which will be a good platform to increase the number of women in decision making position in parties at all levels.

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