In store for 2023: Key things to shape the year in news
A lot of events, stories and developments happened in 2022, and 2023 will be no different.
Below are things to watch in 2023.
- Presidential and legislative elections
Rwandan voters will head to polls in September 2023 to elect new lawmakers to the 80-seat Chamber of Deputies and the 26-seat Senate.
The Rwandan electorate vote for political parties which then decide the candidates to send to both the lower and upper houses of Parliament.
The exception is for aspirants who join the contest as independents.
With Presidential polls slated for 2024, the legislative polls will be decisive moment for all the 11 registered political parties in the country, which wish to maintain or increase representation in parliament even as they decide whether or not to place candidates in the 2024 presidential contest.
The parties, except Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) and Social Party Imberakuri (PS Imberakuri), sought coalition with the ruling party, RPF, in previous polls citing shared ideologies and policy similarities.
So far most parties remain undecided as to whether they will go it alone or they will seek coalition again.
But many will have no choice as they lack muscle and influence to independently contest and win the portion of power they enjoyed under the coalition arrangement.
Opposition DGPR, just like PS Imberakuri, had won two parliamentary seats in the previous legislative elections and could be angling to get more even as it eyes the presidential race.
However, the party lately suffered internal wrangles as its head accused a section of members of harboring plans to split the political organisation. It remains to be seen how this will playout.
Other African countries heading to presidential and legislative elections, or both next year are Nigeria (February), Liberia (October), Sierra Leone (June), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (December).
- Instability in East DR Congo
Tensions that arose again between Rwanda and its neighboring DR Congo, alongside the deteriorating security situation East of the latter are things many will keep an eye on in 2023 in hope that they are resolved.
Counter accusations over supporting rebel groups that are opposed to each government continue, and interventions by both peace brokers and regional force are yet to signal an end to the conflict which has thwarted everything trade and mobility between the two neighboring countries’ population.
- Vaccine production
With containers for the planned first mRNA manufacturing facility in Africa having undergone quality checks and expected in Kigali in the first quarter of 2023, according to Biotech, Rwanda hopes to have the vaccine plant set up by end of the year.
The facility is set to be completed in 2024 with capacity to ease access to vaccines and health technologies on the African continent.
- UK Refugee deal
Should UK’s controversial $157 million deal to transfer refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda face no further legal challenges after the court declared it lawful, the first batch of the ‘unwanted’ migrants could start arriving in Rwanda any time in 2023.
Rwandan authorities say the migrants will be entitled to full protection, equal access to employment, and enrolment in healthcare and social care services.
- African Union Presidency
Comoros President Azali Assoumani could take over as chairperson of the African Union (AU) in 2023, replacing Macky Sall of Senegal on the rotational post after Kenya withdrew from the race.
Kenya and Comoros were vying for the post, but it emerged the former withdrew after discussions on the margins of the US-Africa leaders’ summit as per details of the statement released by President Assoumani days later thanking his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto.
The AU heads of State summit which will hold a vote is scheduled some time in February 2023.
- War in Ukraine
There is so far no end in sight for the war in Ukraine as Vladmir Putin has not indicated any sign of opting for negotiated peace.
The war, which broke in February 2022, will soon be entering its second calendar year, and so will its effects on economies and trade globally.