National Electoral Commission (NEC) officials yesterday met with the political parties and candidates who will be participating in the September parliamentary elections to brief them about campaign guidelines.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chairperson of NEC, Kalisa Mbanda, told the candidates that the election period was a delicate time, urging them to use the opportunity to unite their potential supporters instead of separating them.
“It is not a time to see a candidate who is working against the interests of the country. It is not an opportunity for political parties to divide people. It is not a time to tarnish each other’s names to advance your agenda. This is a time to collectively build as Rwandans,” he said.
Digging into the agenda
In his presentation, NEC’s Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza, said that although the campaigns will kick off on September 13, candidates had a schedule that they had to follow.
For instance, campaigns for candidates interested in the general parliamentary seats, those standing on a party ticket and the independents will begin on Monday at 6.00 am and stop on September 2 at 6am.
Candidates are prohibited from campaigning past 6pm.
“When it comes to candidates standing on the women ticket, the electoral commission determines a campaign programme at the district level but the elections are expected to take place at the cell level,” he said.
Munyaneza also explained that candidates standing seats reserved for youth and people with disabalities can only campaign before their respective councils either at the district or provincial level that have been predetermined by NEC.
Elections for both categories will take place in Kigali on September 4.
Candidates can use posters, banners, letters, rallies, print media houses, social media and any other means that does not violate any laws.
“Candidates can only hang their banners or posters on government buildings after obtaining authorisation from district authorities. However, they are permitted to use cars and other buildings upon agreeing with the owners,” he said.
It is prohibited to hang campaign materials at or to campaign at hospitals, schools, and churches, or to use electric poles.
At a media briefing held at their offices this week, the electoral commission said that it had approved 521 nominations out of the 539 it had received.
The lower chamber of parliament is made up of 80 members, 53 of whom are drawn from political organisations, 24 representing women (elected through the National Women Council structures), two youth representatives, and one representative of people living with disabilities.