The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has said that the sensitization and preparations for the August Presidential elections for Rwandans in the Diaspora is on track.
According the commission’s Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza, NEC officials have been touring the Diaspora where they met many Rwandans.
“The sensitization in the Diaspora is the same as that conducted locally, and in the past few days, delegations have been to Belgium, Germany, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, the UK, France and elsewhere – they (NEC officials) came back on Wednesday. They were meeting most Rwandans during weekends,” Munyaneza told The New Times on phone yesterday.
“In general, the whole process is okay. I think we will have more people voting than before – everything is on track,” he added, noting that the last polls registered close to 20,000 voters from Diaspora.
The NEC official explained that in most countries, voters’ registers are still being updated, giving an example of France where Rwanda has recently re-established an embassy.
He however acknowledged that there was a one problem; not all foreign countries have a Rwandan embassy and, even in some where it is present, the countries are so huge that voters will be compelled to cover long distances to go and vote.
“This is seen in countries where we have an embassy covering many countries, for example, France which covers Italy, Spain and others. The one in Ottawa, Canada, has to cover Québec and all other states – there is a problem of the distance people will cover.”
Similar examples include China, the US and South Africa.
Munyaneza noted that in large countries or regions where the country has no diplomatic mission, efforts have been made to put up polling stations where necessary – and where there are many Rwandans.
“We will do it in places where we see that there is a big population of Rwandans.”
Normally, every foreign country has one polling station, but Munyaneza noted that “some can have more than one” especially countries like India, South Africa, the US, Kenya and Tanzania, where Rwanda has big student populations dispersed in various universities.