The countrywide Parliamentary campaigns that kicked off August 25 officially end today. The New Times has learnt that political parties are upbeat on the success of their campaigns with many confident of getting majority votes.
The elections slated for Monday, September 15 will see 53 Parliamentarians, from three lists fielded by different political organizations and one independent candidate voted into the House.
They include the coalition of political parties that include the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) and six other parties, the Liberal Party (PL) and the Socio-Democratic Party (PSD). The only independent candidate is Harerimana Jean-Marie Vianney from Kigali.
“The campaigns were successful and we are optimistic that we shall have majority votes in the elections,” said Christophe Bazivamo, who heads the RPF-Inkotanyi campaign team. He said that this campaign was well prepared because they had more time for preparation compared to the 2003 elections.
“This time we had time to get our agents up to the village (Umudugudu) level, where we had 17 agents who helped explain our manifesto to the electorate,” said Bazivamo, who is also the National Vice-Chairman of the RPF.
He said that on top of this, the rallies that were held countrywide will enable them garner more votes. Equally satisfied with the way the campaigns went is PL party president, Protais Mitali.
“We have successfully completed our campaigns and we are holding major closing rallies today (Friday) in different districts across the country. We campaigned up to the sector level and have established agents who have been passing on the message to the people,” said Minister of Youth Mitali who also tops the 64-man list fielded by PL.
He, however, said that the fact that high ranking party officials did not physically go deep in the villages may have a negative impact on their position in the elections.
“But then we also had the chance of using public media outlets like Radio Rwanda and the Rwanda Television and we are optimistic our message was passed on to the people,” he said.
He lauded the Rwanda Office of Information (ORINFOR) for the equal airtime that was allocated to all political organizations during the campaigns.
He said that there were no interruptions in the campaigns because of the cooperation from security organs and local authorities.
On behalf of PSD, the party’s Secretary General, Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo said that during the three week campaign period, they managed to reach all their supporters across the country.
“Actually, as we talk now, I am going to attend a rally in the Southern Province and in the evening I will be on TV….the campaign was generally successful,” said Ntawukuriryayo by telephone yesterday.
Ntawukuriryayo, who is the Minister of Health, also features on the PSD list of candidates.
Meanwhile the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Charles Munyaneza, said that preparations had reached a significant stage.
“We are now in the process of transporting electoral materials to polling centres and we shall embark on cleaning these places,” said Munyaneza.
He added that there were no grave problems pertaining to serious breaching of NEC regulations during the campaign period. That the few that came up were minor and mainly out of ignorance.
Monday’s election will precede other elections that will take place the following three days which will see representatives from women, youths and the disabled elected to the 80-man House.
The National Women Council will be represented by 24, the Youth Council by two while the national federation for the disabled will have one parliamentarian.