The number of new voters registered to participate in the August presidential election has so far passed the 1.5 million mark, the Executive Secretary National Electoral Commission (NEC), Charles Munyaneza, has said.
Speaking to The New Times on Monday, Munyaneza said that though the exact figure is yet to be ascertained, the number consisted mostly of the youth and a small number of others, including returnees.
“We are printing the list to know the exact figure so I cannot give you an exact number but the new voters, who will be voting in a presidential election for the very first time, are more than 1.5 million. They are mostly composed of the youth who just turned the legal voting age and, of course, returnees,” he said.
Munyaneza said the number of new voters can also be attributed to consistent sensitisation programmes that encourage more people to participate in the civic duty.
He also provided an update on where voter registration stands today, urging Rwandans to check with their village offices from May 6-28 to check on their voting particulars.
“The voter registers are currently being taken to the village level and from May 6-28, they will be updated so that those who wish to change their polling station, check their voting status or those without voting cards can have an opportunity to prepare,” he said.
Munyaneza said the transfer of lists to the village level will be the last phase before the process closes.
“Normally after that, we enter these new changes into our system and, thereafter, we announce the provisional list in June and later the final list in July. We are, therefore, calling on all Rwandans to take this seriously and use the opportunity to crosscheck the lists thoroughly,” he said.
The election roadmap
According to the electoral calendar, as part of preparations, since February NEC continues to hold consultative meetings with stakeholders and to procure election materials. This particular process ends in July.
The roadmap shows that the electoral commission will be receiving applications for presidential candidates between June 12 to June 23, 2017. The provisional list shall be announced on June 27 and the final list on July 7.
Campaigns for the qualified candidates will officially begin on July 14 and end on August 3, just a day before the elections.
Close to 6.8 million will participate in the election from 5.7 million who participated in 2010 presidential election, according to the National Electoral Commission.