Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Female representation in Rwandan parliament a sign of democracy?

Grace Kwinjeh, a NEC member of the MDC and the Chairperson of the Global Zimbabwe Forum now works in Kigali as a journalist and managing editor for the newtimes. Some months ago she wrote an article about women's liberation. In this article she claims that the number of women in the newly elected Rwandan parliament is a sign of democracy.

This theory is not new, it's a tempting idea for many westerners I noticed over the years. But there are also scolars that affirm the exact opposite. The report "dynamism in Islamic activism" by the Dutch scientific council shows that many dictators in Africa adopt a very western and donorfriendly strategy to make sure they keep up the support of the west but ignores the dynamics in the countries itself. It gives the appearance of democracy, but is it democracy?

The fact that this strategy exists in many African countries should caution us in jumping to conclusions about the health of democracy based only on the fact that a percentage of parliament is female.

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