Women candidates hit campaign trail with pomp

Candidates aspiring to join parliament on the women ticket have since Monday campaigned in different districts upcountry.
Some of the women candidates during a meeting with NEC officials. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
Some of the women candidates during a meeting with NEC officials. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

Candidates aspiring to join parliament on the women ticket have since Monday campaigned in different districts upcountry.

A total of 103 women have hit the campaign trail in the race for the 24 slots reserved for women, in a college vote that will take place on September 18.

The constituency in the election for women representative is at the provincial level. The college is made up of women representatives from the village up to the provincial level. Provinces have varied number of representatives, depending on the population.

In the Southern Province, 30 aspirants for six seats started presenting their manifestos on Tuesday.

Ignatienne Nyirarukundo, a former deputy chairperson of the House’s standing committee on social affairs, who is seeking re-election campaigned in Nyamagabe on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“My focus is more on the development of women, and teh protection of rights of the child and family. I will continue to push for the enactment and review of laws that enhance gender equality, and to sensitise and urge women to utilise financial institutions,” she said by phone.

She added that if elected, she would work with others to ensure the youth are steered away from drugs and alcohol abuse and support government’s programme of closing orphanages, to give all Rwandan children a chance to grow up in a family setting.

Western Province

In the Western Province, which will also be represented by six representatives, 21 women including Peruth Nyiramana, 40, who is campaigning to become a lawmaker for the first time, hit the campaign trail on Monday.

Speaking to The New Times on phone from Bweyeye Sector in Rusizi District, Nyiramana said her manifesto is centred on augmenting the country’s fight against genocide ideology, inculcating the culture of patriotism, and enhancing unity, among others.

“A lot has already been done in fighting genocide ideology; we can never attain development with this vice rooted in our society. I want to take the fight higher through pushing for more and consistent enlightenment of the population,” Nyiramana said.

The women in each province are supposed to campaign collectively, and for logistical purposes, rallies are held in selected sectors in a district, where women councils in those sectors converge to listen to the candidates.

The Northern Province, which is to be represented by four women, also has 21 women candidates while the Eastern Province, has 26.

In the Eastern Province women aspirants, on Tuesday, kick-started their campaign in Rwamagana District attracting hundreds of residents. The candidates, one after another, addressed the rally – highlighting what they intend to do once in Parliament.

Alice Uwingabiye, one of the candidates, told Rwamagana residents that she would work hard to end gender based violence.

“I have all along been a crusader for gender equality…I have left no stone unturned to push for an end to gender based violence. Once I join Parliament, I will be in a better position to end the crime,” Uwingabiye said.

“I want your votes, the votes to empower women and particularly the children and the vulnerable. I will ensure that no domestic violence prevails if you give me the mandate.”

Kigali

Meanwhile, in the City of Kigali, the campaigns for women parliamentary candidates started yesterday at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC-Kigali), previously Eto-Kicukiro.

According to Emerthe Kabatesi, one of the five candidates in the City of Kigali, they first met with the Electoral College in the morning before the campaigns started later in the afternoon.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) decides where and when candidates will address the electoral colleges.

Close to six million people are expected to vote and NEC has set up 2,291 polling centers in 2,148 cells across the country and about 15,500 polling stations in 14,953 villages.

Besides the women, the elections will also see 53 legislators elected through the universal adult suffrage system while the other special interest groups that also elect their representatives through the college system are the youth (2) and persons with disabilities, who have one representative in the 80-person parliament.

Additional reporting by Stephen Rwembeho

 

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