The four independent candidates who participated in the parliamentary general election held on Monday have said they ‘are looking ahead’ following disappointing results.
Gilbert Mwenedata, who among all, was arguably the most active independent candidate, garnered a paltry 0.42 per cent of the national vote, representing just over 24,000 votes. The provincial results were released yesterday evening.
Just like political parties, independent candidates need at least 5 per cent of the national vote to make it to parliament.
“When you take into account the investment I sunk into the campaign, I should say I am disappointed but I have no intention to contest the outcome,” said Mwenedata, whose face was on a number of billboards erected in different strategic locations within and out of the City of Kigali.
Speaking by phone yesterday, Mwenedata, said he would return to his business and would not seek any political position again.
“I do not have any political ambitions for the future. I only wanted to contribute to my country’s development as an independent lawmaker and since it is evident that I will not make it, I have no plans of joining any political party,” he said.
Little was known about the candidate before he submitted his candidature to the National Electoral Commission, and many who closely monitored the three-week campaign, say he could have spent more money on the campaigns than any other independent candidates. But he refused to divulge how much he used.
“I did not raise the money through fundraising; I raised it from personal savings I made for 10 years, so I am not accountable to anyone,” he said.
Neither Mwenedata nor his three independent rivals deployed electoral monitors for the exercise that was conducted at over 2,000 polling centres.
Clovis Ganza, another independent candidate said, “sometimes voters promise they will vote for you, but come polling day, you get disappointed. You never know who they vote for since they are alone in the booth.”
Ganza, who garnered a minimal 0.19 per cent said he believed in the outcome of the results adding that he was happy to have participated in the exercise.
Earlier, Ganza, a businessman, said he did not need to send observers to monitor election on his behalf, because “there was no need; the National Electoral Commission is trustworthy”.
When contacted, Leonille Mutuyimana, whose 8,827 votes could only account for 0.15 per cent, attributed the poor performance to sickness, which hit her during the course of the campaign.
The sickness, she said, also prevented her from reaching out to volunteers to act as monitors on her behalf.
Nevertheless, she said, “I accept the results; they are accurate, I will decide if five years later I will contest again or not.”
Venuste Bizirema also failed to get the minimum votes required to join Parliament, with only 0.16 percent.
“I am happy with the results. You media people reported the elections were transparent and we cannot think otherwise. I still have many fora to express my views that can develop my country.”
Bizirema said he has shared his phone number and a facebook address with many supporters and they will continue to share ideas.
On top of that, he said, I have entered the political career; I will be expressing many thoughts through writing books on politics,” he said.
Since 2003, no independent candidate has managed to win a seat in parliament.
The elections were won by the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) at over 76 per cent in the preliminary results that were released last evening, followed by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), which got just over 13 per cent.
Other participants in the polls which aimed at determining the 53 parliamentarians that will join the House through direct ballot included PL, which got 9.2 per cent of the vote.
PS Imberakuri, the only party that failed to make it to Parliament, garnered 0.56 per cent.
The final result, according to the electoral commission, will be announced tomorrow, after tallying the results from the special categories of women, the youth and persons with disabilities.
Yesterday, members of women electoral colleges elected their representatives to fill up 24 exclusive seats. The elections end today with youth and People Living With Disabilities picking two and one representatives respectively.