The Government will spend an estimated Rwf5.5bn to fund the forthcoming presidential elections slated for August next year, The New Times has learnt.
The figure is Rwf500 million less than the amount spent on the 2010 presidential elections, but has more than doubled from Rwf2.3bn in 2003.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, last week, the Executive Secretary of the National Electoral Commission, Charles Munyaneza, said, over the years, the election cost has been reducing due introduction of ICT in polls, continued use of volunteers and preserved election materials.
“In 2010, the budget was close to Rwf7bn. We are not buying everything because, for instance, we use the same ballot boxes we have been using since the 2008 parliamentary elections,” he said.
The Government will fund at least 95 per cent of the poll, according to the official
Munyaneza, who was speaking on the sidelines of a NEC commissioners and officials working retreat, said the funds will help to prepare Rwandans under different categories; both within the country and the Diaspora for the electoral season.
“We are currently designing and developing electoral civic education and public awareness materials to be used in partnership with other election stakeholders. We are planning training of specific categories of people like women, youth, people with disabilities, media practitioners, security officials, representatives of civil society organisations and election observers for them to be aware of their specific roles in the electoral process,” he said.
Munyaneza also said at the retreat, they were meeting to, among others, propose the election calendar.
“The election date is yet to be set as it is normally announced through a Presidential Order that is yet to be out but we plan to use this retreat to propose the date before it is submitted to the Cabinet for approval. We expect the date to be known before the end of the year,” he said.
Update of voter register
However, the NEC chief said the election will be in August 2017 going by Constitutional provisions. Previous elections were also held in August.
About 6.6 million people are currently registered as voters, an increase of 1.4 million from 2010 presidential poll. In 2003 presidential election, 3.9 million people took part.
Munyaneza said existing registers will be updated in November, this year, and May 2017, and a final voters register issued in mid-July 2017.
“Normally registration and verification of registration is done in our respective villages and the Diaspora (Rwandan embassies and high commissions), which will be done in November this year and May 2017. Voters can also verify their registration status online using their computers and mobile phones by visiting the NEC web site or physically visiting their offices in Kigali and in their respective districts,” he said.
According to electoral laws, if the presidential poll is confirmed for August 2017, then candidates will be known before election campaigns kick offin July 2017.