The National Electoral commission (NEC) expects that the four Presidential aspirants who were not shortlisted on the provisional list of Presidential candidates will be able to fill the missing components in their nomination files before July 6.
This week, NEC announced a list of the Presidential candidates. Just two out of the six aspirants who presented their nomination papers to the commission made it to the list.
Frank Habineza of the Green Democratic party of Rwanda and the incumbent President Paul Kagame of Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) made it on the provisional list.
Independent candidates; Gilbert Mwenedate, Diane Shima Rwigara, Philippe Mpayimana and Fred Sekikubo Barafinda failed to secure at least 12 signatures from each of the 30 districts.
However, Sunday Times has established that both parties—NEC and some of the four candidates who could not make it on the provisional list—didn’t seem to fully agree on the rationale of missing out on the list.
Specifically, NEC says that some candidates presented recommenders who didn’t reside in places they claimed to have been, while some had died, among other reasons why some of their signatures presented didn’t count.
An official from the electoral commission said that, after examining the signatures gathered by some aspirants, it was discovered that some had signed more than once while other recommendations were not collected from the places they claimed to be—a reason why some aspirants would have more than enough recommendations but not from all 30 districts.
While announcing the provisional list of candidates, Prof. Kalisa Mbanda, Chairperson of NEC said that candidates like Mpayimana, Mwenedata and Rwigara had more than the minimum required 600 signatures but they all came from about 25 districts. Mbanda advised these Presidential hopefuls to go back and get at least 12 signatures from each of Rwanda’s 30 districts if they are to make it to the final list of candidates.
NEC is scheduled to release the final list of qualified Presidential candidates for August elections on July 7.
Mwenedate, however said that NEC did not consider the fact that some of their recommenders could have moved to different places they lived in while registering Identity cards, among other inefficiencies.
“If you look very well into this, you will realize that that there are gaps. I think NEC didn’t consider the issues we encountered while collecting our signatures. For instance, how could I know that someone who I found in Gasabo district had moved from Nyarugenge district?” Mwenedata asked.
He said that the four candidates met with NEC a day after announcing the provisional list and expressed their concerns, “with hope that they will get back to us and let us know of the way forward before the deadline.
“I had 300 extra signatures (of the required minimum of 600) and I think it would be a waste of time if went to collect other signatures before we sit down to iron out a few of those technical hitches. Personally, I know I can’t fail to get 12 signatures from each district but it is a matter of knowing what exactly is required and who is who in a particular place,” he added.
NEC, on the other hand says that they have told the Presidential aspirants about what is required of them and informed them of the missing components in their files—with hopes that the remaining task is “simple” and will be easy to correct the remaining gaps in their nomination files.
Presidential elections are slated for August 3 in the Diaspora and August 4 in Rwanda.