The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has released the final list of three qualified candidates for the August presidential poll.
The list, announced by the NEC Chairperson, Prof Kalisa Mbanda, yesterday, has incumbent President Paul Kagame, a candidate of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi), Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and Philippe Mpayima, independent candidate.
Prof Mbanda said three other independent candidates; Diane Nshyimyimana Rwigara, Fred Sekikubo Barafinda and Gilbert Mwenedata, had failed to meet the nomination requirements to contest in the August poll.
According Rwanda’s electoral code, independent presidential aspirants are required to present 600 signatures with at least 12 from each of the 30 districts of the country, proof of citizenship, birth certificate, among others.
Mwenedata, specifically, presented 522 signatures but failed to get recommendations from Burera District.
Worse still, one of his endorsers is actually dead, according to the commission.
Rwigara had 572 signatures and also produced recommendations from people who are believed to have died—those included Augustin Rudahara, Innocent Maniraguha and Desire Byiringiro.
Mbanda said that Rwigara also had some of the recommendations from known members of Social Party-Imberakuri, which he said contradicts with the electoral code of ethics.
Barafinda managed to gather just 362 signatures and was not able to provide proof of Rwandan citizenship.
“After we verified the signatures, Diane Nshimyimana Rwigara, Fred Sekikubo Barafinda and Gilbert Mwenedata fell short of the required number in all districts,” Mbanda said.
Kagame and Habineza had made it to the previsional list released last month.
Campaigns are expected to start next Friday, July 14, and elections on August 3 for Rwandans in the Diaspora and August 4 in the country.