NEC on course despite delayed donor funds

GASABO - The National Electoral Commission has said it is comfortable with the progress that has been registered in the preparations for the parliamentary elections slated for mid-September despite the fact that contributions pledged by donors have not yet been honoured.
Members of the National Electoral Commission.
Members of the National Electoral Commission.

The National Electoral Commission has said it is comfortable with the progress that has been registered in the preparations for the parliamentary elections slated for mid-September despite the fact that contributions pledged by donors have not yet been honoured. This was revealed by the Acting Executive Secretary of NEC, Charles Munyaneza, during an interview yesterday.

“We are comfortable with the progress of the preparations and things are on the right course,” said Munyaneza who took over the interim post following the appointment of former NEC boss, Damien Habumuremyi, to the East African Legislative Assembly. He, however, said that they are in touch with the donors.

“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some countries and international organisations, and we expect them to honour their pledges,” Munyaneza stated.

According to Munyaneza, those likely to honour their pledges soon include the British government, through their Department for International Development (DFID).

“We are expecting their contribution any time this month,” he said.

Munyaneza further revealed that DFID committed to contribute Euro 1 million (approx. Frw850m) for the second parliamentary election, as part of the $4.1m (approx. Frw2bn) all the donors pledged to put in the election fund basket.

Other donors who have signed MoUs with the electoral commission are the Governments of Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and the European Union.

“We have also signed an MoU with the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) but, unlike the others donors, they will pay in kind by way of providing expertise during the preparation of the elections,” added Munyaneza,
He added that other donors are citing procedural difficulties as the reason for their delay in disbursing funds.

“We met with all of them last week, and most say they would release the money around August. We, however, told them of the urgency of the matter because the delay would disrupt our plans,” he explained.

However, he was quick to add that there would be no crisis if the donors failed to meet their commitments, saying that Rwanda has been along that road before.

“We have always believed that we can run the elections with or without the donors’ input...besides, we already have funds from government totalling Frw4.8bn,” he said.

In an earlier interview, Munyaneza had said that the total expenditure on the polls would be Frw6.2bn.

The parliamentary polls which are expected to take place on September 15 across the country will see 53 parliamentarians elected from political organisations and candidates on individual tickets, and for the following three days, electoral colleges of women, youths and persons with disabilities will elect their representatives to the House.

The Southern, Eastern and Western provinces will each be represented by six women parliamentarians, while the Northern Province and Kigali city will be represented by four and two respectively.

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