Knitters gathered in Kacyiru on Monday, June 8 for a historic event in the annals of Rwanda Knits: cooperative union elections.
Twenty-two representatives and candidates--both women and men, in accordance with Rwanda's cooperative law--from the union's three founding cooperatives translated the universal cooperative principle of democracy into a favorite Rwandan method, the "line vote."
No need to mobilize canvassers and hundreds of thousands of francs for a grueling trek on the campaign trail. Election season lasted less than an afternoon. Candidates for each position on the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee described their qualifications and plans to lead the nascent cooperative union during this crucial, formative stage. Questions and laughter ensued. Then, with a flourish, candidates were summoned to the far end of the room.
Rwanda Knits Project Manager Patrick Nimubona likes to say, "me, I don't dance until I've heard the music." Yet as supporters lined up behind each candidate, I couldn't help thinking of marching band members falling into formation, ready to strike up the band.
I felt the urge to do a jig...as did the newly elected leaders. They have good reason to be proud.
INGENZI KNIT UNION LEADERSHIP, JUNE 2009
Board of Directors:
Rose Manirarora, President (Mpore Mama Cooperative)
Immaculée Niwemutoni, Vice President (Hosiana Cooperative)
Augustin Nizeyimana, Secretary (Hope Cooperative)
Josiane Niyitegeka, Member (Mpore Mama Cooperative)
Protegène Ndagijimana, Member (Hope Cooperative)
Caritas Kayitesi, Member (Hosiana Cooperative)
Eric Uwizeyimana, Member (Hosiana Cooperative)
Godeberthe Mukomasalo, Member (Mpore Mama Cooperative)