Kigali 1:00pm – The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has said that the presidential elections are progressing as planned, noting a significant early turnout at different polling stations in the country.
According to NEC Executive Secretary Charles Munyaneza, by 1pm Friday, over 80 per cent of the votes had been cast with two hours to go.
Polls close at 3 PM to make room for vote counting, according to the commission.
Voting opened at 7 AM across the country at the 2,340 polling stations. In most locations, voters showed up as early as 6AM in readiness for the exercise.
According to Munyaneza, there has not been any major incidence so far.
“No major incidence, there were a few people who could not find their names on the voting lists since they had not transferred their names which has since been sorted out. We communicated to the volunteers to allow them to use their National IDs,” he said.
Three presidential candidates are contesting the election; incumbent President Paul Kagame, of the RPF-Inkotanyi, Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda; and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent.
Habineza and his wife Edith Kabalira cast his vote at 8:30AM Kimironko II polling station in Gasabo and commended the electoral commission for organising a smooth election.
He expressed confidence in winning the polls by about 70 per cent.
Independent candidate Phillippe Mpayimana cast his vote around midday at Camp Kigali in Nyarugenge District.
The incumbent president Kagame, was joined by his family cast their votes at APE-Rugunga polling station, in Nyarugenge District.
Munyaneza said that counting will commence at 3 pm at polling centres across the country.
Members of the public are allowed to follow up the counting process from their respective polling centres, however, the announcement of the results is a prerogative of the commission.
The commission will begin announcing results from the various districts from around 7:30PM with the preliminary results to be announced by 10 PM, according to Munyaneza.
This is the first election where visually impaired people voted using braille unlike previously when they had to be assisted by polling assistants.