Vet parliamentary aspirants thoroughly

Dozens of candidates were yesterday elected by members of their respective political parties ahead of the vetting by the national electoral commission to contest in this year’s parliamentary elections.

Dozens of candidates were yesterday elected by members of their respective political parties ahead of the vetting by the national electoral commission to contest in this year’s parliamentary elections.

According to the electoral calendar, parties are expected to submit their final lists of candidates to NEC between August 6 and August 12. The election campaigns are scheduled between August 26 and September 15, while the poll will be held on September 16.

Two parties, including the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) and Liberal Party (PL), have so far conducted their primaries.

Other six political parties, including the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), Parti du Progrès et la Concorde (PPC), Union Démocratique du Peuple Rwandais (UDPR), Parti de la Solidarité et du Progrès (PSP), Parti Socialiste Rwandais (PSR) and the Ideal Democratic Party (PDI) are considering standing under a coalition that could be led by the RPF as was the case in 2008.

Preparations in other parties, including Social Democratic Party, are in also high gear.

While it’s a constitutional right for all eligible Rwandans to vie for electoral positions in the country, this is a serious exercise which should be taken seriously.

It should bring out the best of our leadership bearing in mind the oversight role of parliament – as a representative of the people and the institution that has oversight of government under its attributions.

The electorate in the primaries and those in charge of party nomination process should ensure that no one joins the race for the sake of gaining cheap popularity. The electoral period should not be an avenue for self-seekers.  Aspirants should not use this period to lobby for funds from sponsors, only to end up using the funds for personal ventures.

Therefore, the national electoral commission should emphasise strict standards for aspiring parliamentary candidates.  The voters have the right to know the serious contenders in the race. And the vetting process must be thorough to kick out the opportunists.

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