The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has called on all citizens eligible to vote to verify their particulars on the electoral roll in their respective cells and villages to ensure they are ready to participate in the forthcoming presidential election, slated for August next year.
In a statement, the commission’s executive secretary, Charles Munyaneza, said voters should check with their local government offices to ensure information about their identification is accurate while those that have recently attained voting age can be registered to ensure no one is left out of the exercise.
The two-week exercise starts today and will end on November 30, according to the statement. It will be carried out at the village and cell levels.
The eligibility age for voting in Rwanda is 18 years.
The commission also urges those who registered in villages from which they have since relocated to update their new domicile on the voters’ roll.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Munyaneza said updating your particulars on the voters’ roll will not necessitate people to go to the local government administrative offices, saying, like previously, this exercise can be done either on a smartphone or computer for those who access internet.
Meanwhile, the statement urges students in institutions of higher learning to make a choice of where they will vote from, either in the jurisdiction where their institutions are located or at their villages of residence.
The students welcomed this flexibility accorded to them.
“It is good that we have an alternative to vote from our university instead of having to travel to our villages,” said Frere Nsabimana, from the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences.
The Government will spend an estimated Rwf5.5 billion for the preparation of the presidential election.
The figure is Rwf500 million less than the amount spent on the 2010 presidential election, but has more than doubled from Rwf2.3 billion spent in 2003.
Officials attributed the cost reduction to introduction of ICT tools in the exercise, continued use of volunteers, and preserved electoral materials from previous polls.
The Government will fund at least 95 per cent of the poll, according to the official.
With the number of those expected to participate in next year’s election set to increase, the current roll has about 6.6 million registered voters, representing an increase of 1.4 million from the 2010 presidential election.
In 2003 presidential election, 3.9 million people took part.
Existing registers will be updated by the end of this month and May 2017, according to NEC officials.