The National Electoral Commission (NEC), today, releases the final list of candidates who will contest for the country’s top-most executive job through a democratic process that the body has been preparing since announcing results of the last presidential election in 2010.
Incumbent President Paul Kagame of RPF-Inkotanyi and opposition candidate Frank Habineza of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda were already shortlisted in the provisional list the commission released ten days ago.
Four aspirants who submitted bids as independents will learn today whether their bids were enough to have their names on the ballot paper on August 3 and 4. They are Diane Rwigara, Gilbert Mwenedata, Philippe Mpayimana and Fred Sekikubo Barafinda.
There might be some disappointments if some do not make the grade. Such is what happens when the law is in charge of directing calls. NEC is making the decisions for the nation and not individual aspirants.
Whereas it is a right to stand for electoral office, there is no right in gaining one’s aspirations outside the realm of the law. That is why the electoral law demanded some prerequisites for one to qualify.
More important is how everyone, the aspirants who might not make the cut — if any — inclusive, can join hands and work with NEC and other stakeholders in the election process to ensure that the campaigns that kick off next week are open, free and accommodating to all.
The average citizen deep in a village in Nyamagabe, for instance, will care less whose name is on the ballot. To them, the service they are still lacking is more important than anything else.
To the candidates who will make it, there are strict laws in place to follow during the next few days before official campaigns open. The temptation to rock the social media boat might be high, but breaching NEC’s regulations will not help.
NEC’s decision today is important for the nation, less so for individual aspirants. Today, the bell will summon everyone to work with the electoral commission to deliver a truly credible electioneering process.