The National Electoral Commission (NEC) Sunday at Telecom House reminded candidates in the forthcoming parliamentary elections not to use public funds in their campaigns.
Parliamentarian hopefuls officially began their campaigns yesterday after NEC released the final list of candidates in their polls on Saturday.
“Using public funds or public means for some candidates is a kind of injustice for other candidates who don’t have the possibility to use them,” said NEC Chairman Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa.
NEC officials reminded the parliamentary candidates of things that are prohibited by the law while carrying out their campaigns.
Apart from the use of public funds, they cited using one place at the same time by different campaigners and being advertised by private companies as forbidden.
Commission officials said that NEC wants all the candidates to be treated in the same way as they sell their ideas to Rwandans.
“It wouldn’t serve the general interest of the public and it could end up not providing an equal playing field for all candidates,” said Charles Munyaneza, the commission’s acting Executive Secretary.
He said that the Electoral Commission started sensitizing candidates and the public on the dangers of using public funds for their own interests in elections and insisted that those who will be caught will be punished by the law.
“We are going to follow up on this and make sure that public funds are not misused,” Munyaneza said.
However, the commission officials said that it is allowed for campaigners to borrow government halls and fields for use in their campaigns. They are also allowed to ask their supporters and members to financially assist them.
The parliamentary hopefuls who have begun campaigning include 80 candidates from a coalition of political parties led by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (FPR), 62 from the Liberal Party (PL), and 64 from the Social Democratic Party (PSD).
Representatives of women, youths, and the disabled will also campaign. Jean-Marie Vianney Harerimana is the only one registered as a private candidate. The election campaigns will officially end on September 13.