Rwanda: Electoral Body to Go Ahead With Grassroots Polls Despite Covid-19

A polling agent tallies votes (file photo).
30 November 2020

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has set the local government elections to begin on February 6 and conclude on March 2, after the calendar was approved by a cabinet meeting.

Speaking to The New Times, the Executive Secretary for NEC, Charles Munyaneza said that the current grassroots leaders will run their respective terms to conclusion in 2021.

Grassroots leaders have a five-year term and the current ones started theirs in 2016 and it will come to an end in February 2021.

Earlier, the electoral body had expressed concerns over the feasibility of the polls with the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Munyaneza, among the elections will go on with observance of Covid-19 preventive measures especially social distancing.

"We are planning to have at least two polling stations for each village, but the number of residents will influence the decision. We want to make sure social distancing is respected at all polling sites," he notes, citing that the same will apply during the electoral campaigns.

He also added that handwashing stations will be set up at each site and hand sanitizers provided for each voter before and after casting their ballot.

Munyaneza said that NEC will spend Rwf3.3 billion towards the exercise which will include the elections of advisory councils from the village level to the district level.

The exercise will also include polls for special interest groups; women, the youth and persons with disability. Women must constitute at least 30 per cent of each council from village to the district.

Elections calendar

Prospective candidates will be required to submit their candidatures from December 28 to January 11 and NEC will update the voter's registry from January 11 to 22.

Campaigns for prospective district executive committee members will kick off on January 30 to February 21.

Elections at the village level will be held on February 6 with committees for village councils and women committees.

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