All political parties contesting for parliamentary seats in the elections slated for next month have said they are ready to kick-start campaigns on Monday.
Parties and independent candidates will canvass for support from the electorate up to September 1, according to the calendar by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).The elections are scheduled from 2-4 September.
NEC has approved 521 candidates out of the 539 who had shown interest, both from political parties and independents.
There are five political parties and four independents contesting for 53 seats that are voted for through universal adult suffrage.
Political party officials who spoke toSunday Times expressed their readiness for the campaign saying all is set to rally voters throughout the country to back their respective candidates.
Wellars Gasamagera, the spokesperson of Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) campaign, said the rallies will be launched in Rulindo in Masoro Sector on Monday afternoon and the party and its coalition are ready for the whole campaign and for securing more seats in parliament.
In the campaigns, RPF will work with six other political parties; PDI, PDC, UDPR, PPC, PSP and PSR whose candidates are on the same list as that presented to the electoral commission.
“We are ever ready; RPF never gets surprised, all is set and we hope the campaigns will be smooth. We will be campaigning during afternoon to not disrupt activities of residents,” he said adding that campaigns will be organised in central areas which are easily accessed by residents.
Elsewhere, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda will launch its campaign in Kabacuzi in Muhanga District and will, on the same day, campaign in the district’s town in Nyamabuye sector.
The party president Frank Habineza said they are optimistic it will secure more seats and all it set for the campaign.
“We will campaign vigorously and we have all it takes to do so, we will have two sites for the launch day and we hope it will be such a smooth campaign, we hope to secure at least 10 seats,” said Habineza who is on top of the list of candidates submitted by his party to NEC.
Habineza contested for presidential elections in August 2017 representing his party, which he lost.
The Social Democratic Party (PSD)’s Secretary General Dr Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze said the party will launch its campaign from the eastern Province’s Ngoma District and hopes to meet many voters to present their manifesto.
“Preparations are ongoing and we are almost set, we will launch our campaign in Ngoma district’s town at Cya Semakamba Stadium,” he said.
“The plan is for us to campaign and convince voters that we have to raise the number of members of parliament from seven we had in the outgoing parliament”.
Meanwhile, outgoing speaker of the chamber of deputies, Donatile Mukabarisa, who is also the President of the Liberal Party (PL), said their campaign will be launched in Base Sector, Rulindo District on Monday afternoon before it continues concurrently in Ruhango and Kamonyi districts the next day.
In Ruhango, PL will campaign in Kinazi sector while in Kamonyi, they will be campaigning in Muhina sector, according to Mukabalisa.
“We are ready, we have in place all the necessities to run a smooth campaign, all is ready and we will use all our efforts and let the public decide. We hope we will secure more seats if all goes well,” she said.
PS Imberakuri, another political organisation will launch its campaign in Jabana sector Gasabo District and its chairperson Christine Mukabunani said this time the party expects seats.
The attempt to campaign in the previous campaigns held in 2013 yielded nothing for PS Imberakuri, who failed to garner the minimum 5 per cent of the national vote needed to get a seat in parliament.
“We have new ideas to sell to Rwandans and we hope they will buy them and vote for us, our target is to secure at least five percent and above to be able to secure representation in parliament,” she said.
Independent candidate Philippe Habimana, himself a former presidential aspirant said he will look for all possible ways to run a successful campaign.
As an independent candidate, he said he is struggling to get the necessary logistics but hopes to be able to traverse the entire country during the two weeks of campaigning.
“We will launch the campaign on Monday afternoon from Kinyinya Sector in Gasabo District and I will take the campaign throughout the country by covering two districts each day. I hope the media will also help disseminate my manifesto,” said Mpayimana, who came second in the presidential election, after incumbent President Paul Kagame.
There are four independent candidates.
Over 7 million are expected to cast their votes in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, according to NEC.