André Gitembagara was reelected as RNMU National Executive Bureau president by the National Congress on the 13th July 2017, for a mandate of four next years.
André Gitembagara was reelected as RNMU president with an overwhelming approval from the electorate with 113 out of 115 votes. He was a sole candidate at the presidency, after Mukantwari Josélyine declined to vie for it when asked by one of the members of the Congress, citing her desire to competing on the vice presidency.
However, at this post, Mukantwari was beaten by Perpétue Mbabazi, who collected 69 ballots against 44 from 115 voters. Mbabazi was RNMU Commissioner in charge of Education and Research.
Innocent Sheja, the Chairperson of DEB in the Gasabo district was elected new RNMU Secretary General and replaced Jean Pierre Nsabimana with 69 voters casting their votes for the former while the outgoing Secretary General collected 46 votes.
Sheja is among 81 members who signed a legal status that instantiated the Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Association (RNMA/ANIR) which became RNMU in 2013. He was also the director of a Rwanda women network Health Center in Gasabo, and in charge of nursing at the same organization working in nine districts.
He had campaigned to increasing the District Executive Bureau (DEB) and Referral Hospital Executive Bureau (RHEB) financial capacity by increasing the finances, the welfare and working conditions of nurses and midwives, as well as improving the legal framework of practitioners.
Edith Lunkuse remained RNMU treasurer after winning 91 votes for against 21 votes for Emerence Umurerwa.
For the commissioner in charge of research and Education post, four people competed. Evergiste Bisanukuri with 50 suffrages was voted the new Commissioner in charge of Education and Research, replacing Mbabazi who was voted earlier for the vice presidency. Dieudoné Kayiranga 45 votes, Papias Iyakaremye 13 votes, and Aimable Mutayomba 3 votes, were other challengers.
Genevieve Benurugo was reelected as a commissioner in charge of Gender and Social Affairs.
Josélyne Mukantwwari, Claudine Umuratwa, and Jean Damascene Rurangwa are the new asset controllers voted for with 28. 22 and 25 votes respectively. Byusa Jules,18 votes and Papias Iyakaremye 16 votes, were other two unsuccessful candidates at this post.
In his brief new Executive Committee initiation remark which concluded the election, Gitembagara thanked members of the Congress and the Council who certified a smooth election process, and promised to build on the past to achieve even greater feats.
“The door is open for everybody,” Gitembagara said, “I promise that we will work hard to greater achievements. I am asking you to judge the new committee after four years. I promise that we will work to improve the Union,” he reiterated.
Earlier, Gitembagara had campaigned on the promise for a more advocacy for the profession and practitioners, stressing his “passion to develop farther the Union.”
He also had said he shall strive for the self-reliance and sustainability of RNMU by increasing the income generated from membership and investment, while lobbying more to increase financial and diplomatic capacity of the Union.
Rule of law
In total, 17 aspirants submitted their candidacies at various posts. They were vetted on the eve of the election by the National Council that was convened on the 12th July 2017. The National Council confirmed 10 candidates as it judged other seven didn’t fulfill certain criteria. The main reason of the exclusion was that the Council found out those not approved had not paid their membership fees for the last consecutive three months preceding the election day as required by the statute for every member submitting his candidacy.
However, six of 7 unconfirmed candidates appealed the National Council’s decision, explaining the nonpayment of the membership fees.
“The Election Commission received six letters appealing this decision. The Commission examined the appeals, and the reasons given are valid. We submit those appeal for the discretion of the National Congress to decide the fate of those who appealed,” said the president of the election committee.
It was revealed that for some candidates, the membership fees for the last three months had been paid, but a faulty system caused the transaction not appearing on RNMU accounts statements for verification.
For others, the payment was done on direct DEB accounts as per normal procedure where DEB leaders collect membership fees and deposit them on RNMU accounts, thus some of the candidates were affected because their subscription appeared on DEB bank statements, and not on those of RNMU.
The Congress approved unanimously to include other six candidates on the list except Fabrice Hakuzimana, who chose not to appeal the decision and withdrew his candidacy, thus a list of 16 candidates.
A candidate defeated at one post, was qualified to submit his candidacy for another until he wishes to halt.
Every candidate was afforded five minutes for campaigning before election for each posts.
The electorate was composed of 115 out of 120 expected members of the National Congress.
RNMU Secretary General and the president presented financial and activity reports of the last four years, and the members of the National Congress had a chance to ask for clarifications and proposed the priorities for the next four years.
Ignace Nyabutsisi, the secretary of RHEB committee at the King Faisal Hospital wanted the sustainability of the Union to come as top level priority for the next NEB and wanted to know what measures are in place to achieve this and increase hope for sustainability “because the Union survival depends on 80% on donors support currently.”
He wanted to know the measures to increase the income generated from the check off system.