Yesterday, through Electoral Colleges, Kigali women in Gasabo, Nyarugenge and Kicukiro Districts voted for their Parliamentary representatives.
The elections that were conducted countrywide yesterday will have 24 women from all the country’s provinces and Kigali City elected to represent women in the 80 seat parliament.
Their voters are representatives of women in the National Women Council from all the country’s four provinces and Kigali City level up to the Sector levels together with members of District councils countrywide. But the voters elected their preferred candidates at Province and Kigali City level from decided areas in the Districts.
There was a big turn up of voters-181 people or 94 percent of the Gasabo District Electoral College- at Ecole Primaire Rugando, the Gasabo district polling station yesterday.
“Because they take care of the very [important] ‘small things’, they are thorough. When a woman’s heart is committed to something, she will do it. Women are even less corrupt,” said a lady who requested anonymity. She had come to vote.
Augustin Neto Nzabahimana, a Gasabo district counselor for one pointed out that women’s capabilities have been proved beyond doubt in as far as Rwanda is concerned, and that most men too now recognized it.
“Women are patient than men in most cases, they often want things that bring peace because that simply is in their nature and now that they no longer fear joining politics they should go even further,” he advised, adding, “Advancing the women folk means advancing the country as a whole.”
More than a hundred women representatives and members of Nyarugenge District Council gathered in Kimisagara yesterday to vote.
133 people, mainly women, were eligible to vote and most were at Kimisagara polling station by 10 a.m.
Some women voters see the action of voting their representatives as one way of maintaining the struggle for their rights and those of their daughters because their representatives will address their problems.
“As women, we always have many problems and these definitely affect both us and our children. The women we vote should continue fighting against violence of women and children, and continue to promote girls’ education,” said Candide Uwibwami, a 67 year-old widow from Kimisagara Sector.
After casting her vote, Uwibwami, who is a mother of two, said that she was happy because the country’s leadership gave women a chance to participate in affairs of national importance.
“As someone who lived outside Rwanda where we used to be excluded from many things, it is fascinating that we are now invited to take part in the country’s decisions,” said a woman who spent 30 years in Burundi as a refugee.
Her wish to see violence against women eradicated is shared by Gerardine Nubuhoro, another voter who came to cast her vote in Kimisagara from Mageragere Sector, a rural area of former Butamwa District that is part of Nyarugenge District today.
“We see the violence against women tremendously reduced day after day. This is because we have more and more women institutions that we continue voting for,” she said, adding that the candidates she chose are those that she expects to firmly promote girls and women’s rights.
By 10:00am, about 99 of the 110 expected voters had already arrived at the polling station and were in the voting room at Kicukiro College of Technology waiting for the exercise to start.
Kicukiro district is made up of 10 Sectors each with 10 voters making the number of women voters 100 and another 10 (men and women) from the district putting the total at 110.
The contest pitted 16 women nominees of which voters were required to choose not more than two while casting their votes.
The Mayor of Kicukiro district Florence Kairaba after casting her vote told The New Times that the exercise was done on time and the turn up excellent.
“It is good that people came in on time and the elections were conducted peacefully. As for the turn up, I can say that it is way above 90% because many of the voters arrived early and have already cast their votes,” she observed. She also observed that the exercise was calm and transparent.
“Whatever the results, those will be the people’s votes because the exercise was very transparent,” Kairaba said.
By 11:00am, most of the voters had finished casting their votes and the lines were no longer seen around the voting tables.
After casting their votes, most of the people left the scene for their respective places of work while others preferred to take up sits in the voting room to watch the exercise.
The exercise which was closely watched by observers from the European community (EC), African Union (AU) and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and many more.
The country’s electoral law had 24 women parliamentary representatives elected during the indirect elections that follow the country’s general Parliamentary elections that took place on Monday.
The country’s constitution, endorsed in 2003, guarantees that at least 30 per cent of all posts in decision-making organs will be given to women.
From the16 contestants, only two will represent Kigali City women in Parliament. The New Times has learnt from reliable sources that these are, Rose Mukankubana and Yvonne Uwayisenga.
Contributions by: James Karuhanga, Eugene Kwibuka and Joseph Mudingu