Justice Minister Johnston Busingye, has said that for the forthcoming presidential campaigns and elections to be calm and without incidents, ever Rwandan, including the media, needs to come contribute by sharing information on anything that could derail the process.
The Minister was speaking on Tuesday during meeting between the police and media at the RNP headquarters in Kacyiru.
The meeting was attended by the inspector general of police, Emmanuel K. Gasana; deputy IGP in charge of Operations, Dan Munyuza; the executive secretary of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Charles Munyaneza; the executive secretary of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), Emmanuel Mugisha; members of the media and senior police officers.
The meeting concluded a series of similar sessions around the country under the theme: ‘Strengthening Partnership for Quality Services Delivery.’
Its main purpose was to discuss and come up with collective measures for police and media to serve the public interest.
Busingye commended the police for organizing the meetings, and called for more collaborative efforts between the police, media and the public, particularly to ensure that the presidential campaigns and elections are conducted in safety.
“The election preparations are meant to ensure that rights of everyone are fully respected, and security maintained through collaborative efforts among all actors including the general public,” the Minister said.
He added the partnership between police, media and NEC is essential.
“In the last 23 years, elections have been conducted in a smooth, calm and peaceful manner. We expect this same spirit this year,” Busingye said.
He commended the professionalism of media in Rwanda, and challenged them to build on it.
While reacting on foreign media that continues to paint Rwanda’s media as weak, the Minister said that is wrong.
“Today we have the most professional media that is diverse, well informed, and serving the interest of the people,” he said. “We live in times of dynamism, political maturity, optimism and hope for all.”
Police chief Gasana reassured that the police is ready to ensure safety and security during the elections. He said that the force has taken measures to maintain tight security in Rwanda at all times, and during the entire electoral process in particular, including safety of disadvantaged groups and controlling the increasing traffic.
He appealed to the media and the general population to avoid and report all rumours intended to undermine peace and security especially during forthcoming presidential campaigns and elections.
NEC executive secretary Charles Munyaneza urged media to be professional and responsible in covering presidential campaigns and elections.
“The media has a responsibility to inform citizens about elections and campaigns; however, this has to be done in a more professional manner and in accordance with the law,” Munyaneza said.
He also asked members of the press to avoid creating confusion or anxiety among people.
Emmanuel Mugisha of the RMC for his part urged journalists to be very sensitive to avoid stories fuelling hatred and violence during the presidential elections.
He also reminded them to carry their identification when covering election events.