19 June 2017

Rwanda: NEC Recuits Over 70,000 Volunteers for Presidential Poll

Photo: Newtimes
(file photo)

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has recruited more than 70,000 volunteers for the forthcoming Presidential Election.

Charles Munyaneza, the commission executive secretary, said the volunteers, who will mostly serve as polling assistants, are undergoing training.

"We have already recruited more that 70,000 election volunteers. On Monday (today), we will conclude the training of our first group of volunteers. The next training will be held a few days to the election," he told The New Times.

With 46 days to the Presidential Election, Munyaneza reaffirmed that the commission was "very ready" for what he describes as historic polls and is optimistic that the process will be seamless.

"We have so far done over 95 per cent of what we are supposed to do. Save for only those activities that we haven't done as the law provides, such as the announcing of the candidates, campaigns, printing out the ballot papers and election," Munyaneza said.

He said the commission has already procured "everything" they need and everything needed is already in the country. He added that printing of ballot papers will be done in the country and that the process will begin as soon as the final list of candidates has been announced.

Munyaneza said the commission has already contracted local printing facilities to print out the ballot papers, adding that NEC has acquired 603 vehicles to be used during electoral process across the country.

"These vehicles will be used to transport election materials from our stores to the polling stations across the country. The number (of cars), however, might increase," he added.

Regarding the security of candidates as well as that of electoral process, Munyaneza said NEC will provide security to the candidates throughout the campaign season and during election time.

However, he said the commission would not provide transport facilitation to the candidates.

"We are working hand-in-hand with all responsible organs, including Police, to make sure that we have an incident-free election. With the help of everyone involved, I don't see anything strange happening," Munyaneza said.

The NEC executive secretary told this paper that they are in the final stages of updating the voter register.

"The commission is now entering all the voters' information into the database and the final voters register should be ready by July 19," he said.

"Everything is set and we keep track to ensure that we attend to every detail to ensure free and fair elections."

Asked how the electoral commission will support candidates during campaign period, Munyaneza said, apart from providing security personnel, candidates would have to foot their campaign bills.

Without disclosing details, Munyaneza said only candidates who will get 5 per cent of the total votes cast would get a certain percentage of reimbursement from the Ministry of Local Government.

Electoral Calendar

The electoral commission is expected to announce the provisional list of candidates on June 27, and publish the final list on July 7, after which campaigns will be flagged off a week later.

Presidential Election takes place on August 3 for Rwandans in the Diaspora and August 4 in the country.


NEC verifies paperwork

The National Electorial Commission, last week, began receiving bids from presidential hopefuls.

Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, was first to arrive and submit his documents, saying all was ready for his party to hit the campaign trail.

Gilbert Mwenedata, an independent, was able to hand in all the documents except for a few that lacked some photocopies.

Fred Barafinda Ssekikubo, turned up to present his candidature without proof of nationality and other key requirements. Ssekikubo, who claimed to belong to Rwanda Revolutionary Union Democratic Advancers - a party not registered in the country - said he had gone to the commission in a rush.

Diane Rwigara, who has expressed interest in challenging for the country's top-most executive office, is yet to submit her paperwork.

RPF picks Kagame

The ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) on Saturday unanimously nominated President Paul Kagame for re-election in the August 3/4 Presidential Election. During the party's congress at the new RPF headquarters in Rusororo, Gasabo District, Kagame polled 1929 votes of 1930 delegates to have voted to officially become the RPF-Inkotanyi flag bearer.

The election roadmap

Provisional list of nominated candidates will be announced on June 27 and the final list on July 7. Presidential campaigns officially begin on July 14 and end on August 3, a day before the election.

Close to 6.8 million will participate in the election from 5.7 million in the 2010 Presidential Election, according to NEC.

What aspirants target so far

Paul Kagame, RPF-Inkotanyi: To continue to lead the country to more prosperity, peace, and stability. Called for the rest of Rwandans and leaders from other political parties to join him and put their efforts together for the country's brighter future.

Frank Habineza, PDP: Declared readiness to hit the campaign trail, saying his party has been preparing for the last eight years and has structures in 29 of the 30 districts of the country.

This week...

NEC expected to receive and verify applications of the remaining aspirants, including incumbent Paul Kagame.

The process runs until Friday.


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