Parliament yesterday unanimously approved the amended Electoral Code. Some of the key issues that caught the lawmakers’ attention during the debate included offences and penalties in force to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.
Lawmaker, Juliana Kantengwa said that the weight of penalties, vis-à-vis offense, are not well coordinated.
“The punitive measures in the electoral code are fairly good but some of them are not proportional to offenses,” she told the Parliament.
Julienne Uwacu also tabled her concerns saying that; “some penalties in this law are very light; some crimes highlighted in this law deserve stiffer punitive measures.”
The electoral code has 211 articles and out of those, 17 are about election offenses and their penalties.
A case in point, article 192 reads that; “It is prohibited to enter a voting room with weapons. Any person who violates this provision shall be punished with a fine of between Rwf 50,000 and Rwf 200, 000 if weapons were visible.”
While article 196 states that; “Any person who enters or attempts to enter the polling station by force shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of between one year and five years and a fine of between Rwf 500,000 and Rwf 800, 000.”