Gertrude Kazarwa has been elected Eastern Province Senator in a senatorial by-election held yesterday. Kazarwa garnered 371 (80.4 per cent) out of 461 total votes cast. She garnered 371 (80.4 per cent) out of 461 total votes cast.
The two other candidates; Claudette Mpuhimundu and Theopista Bagwaneza polled 47 (10.2 per cent) and 43 (9.56%) votes, respectively.
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) conducted the by-election through an Electoral College comprising members of district and sector advisory councils from the seven districts of the province. The results were announced six hours after the elections.
In the Senator, Kazarwa replaces Donatille Mukabalisa who last year resigned from the Senate to contest in the parliamentary elections, and was later picked by her colleagues as the Speaker.
Kalisa Mbanda, NEC chairperson, described the by-election as free and fair.
NEC has given candidates two days to raise their concerns in case they are not satisfied with the results.
“The turn-up was good which is a sign of political maturity,” he said.
The Senate has 26 members who serve an eight year, non-renewable term. Kazarwa will now serve out the remaining five years.
Unlike other portfolios where the minimum age required is 21 years, joining the Senate requires one to be above 40 years.
The Constitution stipulates that 12 Senators are elected by specific organs in accordance with the administrative entities; eight appointed by the President, and four designated by the consultative forum of political organisations. The others are served by different constituencies.
Kazarwa told The New Times immediately after being declared the winner that she couldn’t wait to serve in her new post.
“I am humbled by the electorate’s trust in me…I can assure them that I will live to their expectations. I have been engaged in a lot of research work that I am sure will help me in my new assignment,” she said.
Kazarwa is married with three children. She works with World Vision as an accountant in the Eastern Province and has a Masters degree in Accounting.
She has conducted research in rural poverty, with case studies in Southern Province.