The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has distanced itself from the collection of money from people to help in the presidential elections which is reportedly going on in some parts of Kigali City
NEC Chairman, Chryislogue Karangwa said this Tuesday in a press briefing that was aimed at updating on the current status of the ongoing presidential campaigns.
“We don’t know anything about that and we didn’t authorize it. No one has right to ask for any financial support for whichever activity, across the country, related to elections,” Karangwa said.
“In terms of budget, in terms of financial capacity, we repeat, that we are comfortable. We have everything we need to organize and conduct these forthcoming Presidential elections.”
The commission’s Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza said that the government allocated the budget requested to fully fund the exercise and “what the government could not provide we (NEC) managed to get from development partners.”
The government, he said provided 83 % of Rwf 8.5bn total budget.
The commission came clean after it emerged that in some parts of the city, local leaders were soliciting money from residents, saying that the money is meant to finance the preparation of polling centres .
Munyaneza added that whoever it getting money from the people it’s their own initiative but not for NEC “and we did not know it. It’s our duty to carter for all the necessities at polling stations and sites.”
He added that processes of cleaning the polling sites were agreed to be done only through community work (Umuganda).
He called on the general public to give information on people who could be engaged in this malpractice to be dealt with.
“This is an offence because we never authorized it.”
Munyaneza said the practice was previously cited in Kinyinya, Gasabo District but it’s now said to be ongoing in some parts of Kicukiro District where residents pay between Rwf 2,000 and Rwf 5,000.
The funds, sources in Kicukiro who have fallen prey say they were told, are meant to decorate the polling sites and putting in place sign posts directing voters to the sites.
But Munyaneza said all these activities were to be done in the Umuganda activities of July 31 and August 7.
When contacted, Kicukiro District Mayor, Paul Jules Ndamage, also said that whoever was doing it was breaking the law.
“Everything is done by NEC, even decorating polling stations. We made that announcement that people’s support would only be through Umuganda to clean the sites…but no financial support is supposed to be collected from any person.”
On the ongoing presidential campaigns, Karangwa commended the four candidates and their supporters for conducting peaceful rallies which have so far registered no chaos.
“This shows that Rwanda is on the right path to total democracy. They (RPF, PSD, PL and PPC) have given the country a good name and we can now say that elections will be healthy,” Karangwa said.
He also commended the media for displaying professionalism in covering the campaigns and their commitment in building a peaceful country.