KIGALI - All Rwandans with intentions to contest in the upcoming Presidential polls slated for August 9 will begin submitting their applications tomorrow.
This was revealed yesterday by Prof. Chryslogue Karangwa, the President of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), in a press conference to update on the preparations of the forthcoming polls and also announce the provisional voters’ list.
“As the Electoral Law stipulates, all persons with intentions to vie for the presidency should present their candidature 35 days before the election date, so from June 24 to July 2, the electoral commission will accept submissions,” he announced.
“There are conditions to be observed by prospective candidates, including being a citizen of the country and having no other citizenship. They could be from a political party, organisation of political parties or independent candidates,” Karangwa said.
According to NEC, all candidates should have roots in Rwanda or at least one of the parents of a candidate should be Rwandan and should have record of integrity within and outside the country.
A prospective candidate should also have a clean criminal record, not have been sentenced to six months of imprisonment or more.
The individual should also possess full civil and political rights and should be 35 years of age and above.
Karangwa said that an independent candidate should have signatures of at least 600 people endorsing the candidature, 12 from each district and they should be registered voters.
According to NEC, the candidates’ application should be accompanied by a certificate of citizenship that is not more than three months old and a letter confirming that the said individual has relinquished the citizenship in another country, if there was any.
A recognised birth certificate and a criminal record are some of the documents NEC requires to accompany the application as well as a letter from a political party or political party’s organisation to certify the individual as the chosen candidate.
Also required is a certificate of declaration of wealth and a certificate of citizenship of at least one of the parents.
According to Karangwa, the documents will then be scrutinised for purposes of authenticity and all candidates will be informed whether their candidature has been accepted.
Announcing the provisional voters’ list, Karangwa who was accompanied by the top officials of the electoral body, said that the provisional list which is supposed to be displayed at least 30 days before elections shows that of an estimated population of 10,111,998, a total of 5.497.511, equivalent 54%, have registered on the voters’ list.
The final list will be displayed until at least 15 days before the elections.
Over 20,000 Rwandans living in the Diaspora are expected to participate in the polls. Close to 70,000 polling officials have been enlisted from the national to the grassroots levels to oversee the process.
Karangwa downplayed requests by a group of politicians who include Bernard Ntaganda and Victoire Ingabire, to postpone the August polls, saying that if they are not at par with the preparations, they are free to opt out.
“How many are these people? ---Two or three people. Elections have been planned for a long time and Rwandans have not called for postponement because they have been involved in the entire process”.
He added that NEC does not serve the interest of any party and is not formed basing on parties, as the likes of Ntaganda want, but on the basis of whether individuals meet the requirements to be on the commission.