THE NATIONAL Electoral Commission (NEC) expects presidential candidates to be experienced enough to steer clear of any kind of speech that could take the nation in the wrong direction during the campaigns that starts today.
This was said by NEC officials at a news briefing called to shed light on the access to public media by candidates during the electoral campaign, among others.
“We cannot be pessimistic as our hope is that everyone who has been cleared to be a presidential candidate and possibly govern Rwanda very well knows better not to go that way. We met with all the candidates and shared all necessary information so that the campaign goes well,” NEC Executive Secretary Charles Munyaneza said.
Fair coverage of candidates
Arthur Asiimwe, the director-general of Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), said they were ready to provide fair and equal coverage to all candidates.
“Public media will not tolerate hate speech. We hope candidates will all abide by the law. We agreed with NEC on how this will be done on national TV and radio and our social media platforms. In our news broadcasts, each candidate will have three minutes during prime news time, every day,” Asiimwe said.
Each candidate will also be allocated 70 seconds of publicity on public media, six times a day.
“RBA will not charge any fee to ensure fairness. It means if there was a candidate who is more financially able than others and wanted to pay for more airtime it cannot happen,” Asiimwe said.
Throughout the campaigns, the public broadcaster will assign journalists to each candidate and plans to do live broadcasts from every corner of the country, he said.
“We will cover all places,” Asiimwe said.
In addition, once every three days, every candidate will be accorded 30 minutes on air to make known their manifesto.
According to NEC Chairperson Kalisa Mbanda, campaign rallies will not be permitted in places such as churches, schools and hospitals.
Prof. Mbanda also reiterated the electoral commission’s call that candidates and their supporters must refrain from prohibited acts such as influence or attempt to influence a voter’s choice by abusing or defaming, in any manner whatsoever, another candidate.