14 July 2017

Rwanda: First-Time Voters Excited About Elections as Campaigns Start

About 6.8 million Rwandans are set to participate in the August 4 election. Atleast 45 per cent of them are youth, many of them first time voters.

Some 5,000 youths from an association called Happy Generation Rwanda are among those set to cast their ballot for their first time.

The association, whose vision it says is to contribute to the development of the country by supporting good governance, job creation among the youth and peace building and solving conflicts, is headed by Aimable Ngendahayo, who said that young voters had been guided and encouraged to ensure their names appear on the voters list.

Justin Zabe, 22, from Gasabo District: "The feeling that I will be participating in the election gives me hope and I feel proud of my citizenship as a Rwandan. I grew up listening to my family appreciate the progress that has been made in the country. I will be happy to participate. I will choose someone with good plans and who is ready to develop the country and improve citizens' welfare."

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Vanessa Agahozo said: In 2010 I didn't vote since I was still below 18years.

I now have a voter's card and I am ready to cast my ballot come August 4.

I will go to vote in the morning so that I go back and wait for the results to be announced.

My polling station is in Nyamirambo and I have much hope and expectations in the presidential candidate that I will vote for, because I know he will be able to promote women and girls' rights.

I need a candidate that will go an extra mile to see that the girl child goes to school and does not miss classes due to lack of sanitary towels.

I will vote for a president who will give women voice.

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Valentine Umulisa, 24, from Ngoma District: "I am so pleased I will be taking part in the election for the first time. It is my chance to support a visionary candidate whose leadership will impact the country. At this age, I have seen quite a lot and I will reflect on that to make the right choice. Personally, I got a chance to study. This is an opportunity to choose a leader of my choice who I think will deliver good governance,"

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Darla Umutoniwase, 22, from Ngoma District: "It will be my pleasure to elect my favourite candidate from whom I expect a lots. In the previous election I was underage. I am waiting for the D-date. I will base on where the country is today to vote the best candidate. For example, in the education sector, all children were given equal opportunity to education, as well as good governance.

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Gilbert Mugabuyisenga, 21, from Gasabo District : "I am excited I will be participating in elections for the first time. It gives me an opportunity to vote a leader who is able to improve the lives of citizens. The young generation has played a big role in the progress of the country and this is another opportunity for me to choose a leader who will engage the youth in the country's progress. I wish voters thought of someone who will protect what the country has already achieved and create more job opportunities as well as strengthen security,"

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Eric Muhire: Iam curious and proud that I will be voting for the first time because my vote means a lot to the country.

I will vote from Gitega Sector (Nyarugenge District).

I am always behind winners. I hope I will not be disappointed. I trust my candidate will address the challenges the country faces, to make Rwanda a better place.

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Emmanuel Ujekuvuka, alias Marshall, 24, from Rusizi's Nkombo Island: "My heart is full of only happiness because I will make my choice on August 4, this will be my contribution toward the country's development. The country has achieved a lot but also we, citizens, still have a vision for a better future. I expect the winner to take the achievements registered thus far as the foundation of further progress."

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Bright Kalimba, from Kimironko, Kigali, said: Being led by a person you voted is a good thing.

The fact that I am going to vote for the first time, and for the right candidate makes me get excited.

"I look forward to voting a president of the people who is ready to protect citizens and fight corruption."

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