Today, September 3, 2018, is Election Day in Rwanda. Some 7.1 million voters are expected to participate in the legislative elections, with an estimated 45,000 Rwandans in the Diaspora having cast their ballots yesterday.
Besides the Diaspora community, people living with disabilities also picked their representative to the 80-member Lower House yesterday, and by press time Eugene Mussolini had romped into what appeared to be an unassailable lead – of 75 per cent – according to provisional results released by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) last evening.
If recent trends in Rwanda are anything to go by there is no doubt that Rwandans will turn up in large numbers to cast their votes today – and do so calmly.
More than 98 per cent of registered voters took part in the 2013 legislative polls and all indications show that Rwandans will again come out in large numbers this time around and freely exercise their right to choose who represents them in the next Chamber of Deputies.
NEC announced that yesterday’s elections for the disabled and among Rwandan communities abroad were not only incident-free and but also conducted according to plan.
The calmness that characterised Day I of the elections yesterday is expected to continue today as voters inside the country engage in a direct poll to pick 53 men and women who will be joining the 4th Lower House. The same is expected to characterise elections for women and youth representatives to parliament due tomorrow.
While we commend Rwandans and the candidates – both political parties and independents – for demonstrating political maturity and generally observing the law during the just-concluded campaigns, we urge all Rwandans to uphold the same peaceful attitude and rule of law as they cast their votes today.
We also appeal to voters to not waste time but leave their homes and workplaces in time, head to their respective polling stations and make their choice accordingly, and then calmly go back to their usual business.
Legislative elections are important in nation-building and by casting your ballot today you are shaping the future of this country.
To NEC officials deployed across the country, returning officers, observers and representatives of the candidates, we have confidence in your ability to behave in a manner that fits this honourable and democratic exercise all the way through.