Today the 2018 parliamentary campaigns enter their third and final week with more than 7 million Rwandans set to cast their votes from Sept. 2-4.
For the first time all the country’s political organisations will be taking part in the legislative elections after all the 11 registered political parties fielded candidates.
A couple of independent candidates are also in the race.
For any political party or independent candidate to win a seat in the Lower House they need to garner a minimum of 5 per cent of votes cast – something which no independent has managed to achieve to date.
All the representatives of the political organisations and the independent aspirants who have spoken to this newspaper over the last two weeks expressed confidence that they will meet the threshold necessary to join parliament, with most of the parties that had members in the 3rd National Assembly saying they hoped to garner more votes and therefore more seats in the August House this time around.
Equally positive about their chances are the candidates vying to represent the different special interest groups (Women, Youth, and Persons Living with Disabilities) in the next Chamber of Deputies.
As we enter the final week of the campaigns one cannot help but commend all the competing parties/candidates that continue to exercise their constitutional right peacefully and in accordance with the electoral laws of the land.
This has allowed the citizens a chance to attend rallies and listen to the candidates’ manifestoes to be able to make an informed decision on who to vote for come the Election Day without major interruptions on their everyday life.
It is important that as we draw closer to the Election Day everyone – candidates, their supporters and the general public – continues to behave in a manner that upholds the same nonviolent environment and political maturity that has characterised the campaigns from day one.
Peaceful political rallies have been the hallmark of Rwanda’s elections in recent years and, if the ongoing campaigns are anything to go by, there is every reason to believe that this will continue to be case, at least in the foreseeable future.
The people of Rwanda have proved that healthy multiparty elections can take place in a free and peaceful climate and that at the end of the day there is no loser when national interests are put above anything else.