Rwandans may well be conversant with what democracy means. Walking around Kigali on the morning of 15 September, people were crowded on the streets, most of them after voting.
However by 11:00 am, Nyabugogo Taxi Park was full of people waiting to go and cast their vote in their respective areas. With most heading out to the provinces.
A shortage of the usual public transport omnibus taxis, the taxi body Atraco was forced to allow trucks to transport people to the different areas they were going to. In the taxi park most of the people were stranded and looked a bit worried for the few vehicles to transport them.
The New Times reached out to these people to find out what could be the meaning of voting to them, as they all struggled to be home for the exercise.
Murenzi Cedrick, who waited to make it to Rulindo, says that voting is a responsibility of all Rwandans.
“We should always first look back in the history of our country. Little did the people have a say in how their country should be governed. And this caused a lot of chaos that claimed a lot of people’s lives. So now that we have the liberty to vote and take part in choosing the direction of our country, we should all participate in this vote because it is good democracy that will create a more stable Rwanda.”
When asked why they opted to go on the actual day of voting, Murenzi says that first he had to ensure there was enough money to keep him through the day of voting as he would not work on that day.
“We are not officers that when they announce a public holiday we also rest. We work on our own and have to utilize all chances of getting money. This is why I opted to go today given the fact that I had to first work.”
Mukamana Jacqueline, who had her two kids with her says that electing leaders is the best way for every country in the world.
“You have had countries where they do not vote for their leaders and what always happens after. These governments are dictatorial and their people suffer a lot under these governments. That’s why electing a leader is important. You would end up by choosing people who would represent you best in the parliament for better development.”
Mukamana says that when leaders are elected then people get content with who ever goes in parliament as he must win with the majority vote.
“If for example PSD gets the majority vote, it means it will have more representatives in the parliament than any other party,” says Mukamana. However, Mukamana was not sure she would make it to Musanze as she could not travel on a truck with her two kids.
“I can’t carry these kids with me on the truck. It’s dangerous and yet usual taxis are few and charging highly. We always pay 1500frw to Musanze but now they are demanding 3000frw in the taxis. I wasn’t ready to pay this amount and that’s why I am stranded.”
Mukamana appeals to government to always find solutions to such problem. She says that she had wanted to go a day before the voting date but again there were too many people.
“I hoped I would go today after I couldn’t go yesterday due to many people that competed for few vehicles. But people have more than doubled those that were here yesterday.”
Mukamana was optimistic that at what ever time, she would go and vote for her party as is her responsibility.
Atraco authorities in Nyabugogo Taxi Park say that there were too many people than they could cater for. By mid night people were still stranded in the Taxi Park. But Atraco authorities tried and used all possible means to see these people made it to their voting areas.
Even in the morning, he says that trucks were allowed to transport people as there was no immediate solution to the problem.
However as people were still struggling in the taxi park to go and vote others around Kigali had almost finished voting by 11:00 am.
At Kabunzu primary school where residents of Munanira were voting from was by mid day receiving very few people after many of the voters had cast their vote.
An official said that almost 90% of the registered voters had already finished voting. He said people obeyed time and by 6:00 am there were already a number of people in the voting queue.
This was the same even in most of other polling stations. For instance poling officers of Kimihurura, and Rugando all say they had registered more than 80% of the voters.
Mulisa Christine a voter of Munanira in Nyakabanda says that Rwandans have played their part in deciding which way their nation should go.
“This is what all Rwandans should always come out to participate in. Feeling they have a responsibility of what ever happens in their country. And I think they are happy about it, given the big turn out of the people on the polling stations.