120 electoral observers accredited for Sept. polls

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has so far accredited 120 people from within and outside the country, to observe the forthcoming parliamentary election.
80-year Habineza, one of those aspiring to become MP, leaves the Electoral Commission’s office. The New Times/Timothy Kisambira.
80-year Habineza, one of those aspiring to become MP, leaves the Electoral Commission’s office. The New Times/Timothy Kisambira.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has so far accredited 120 people from within and outside the country, to observe the forthcoming parliamentary election.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Charles Munyaneza, the commission’s executive secretary said that among these, 50 are from international agencies and foreign missions in Rwanda. 

 

“We are expecting more applications from organisations that want to observe the elections but among those we have accredited, are representatives from European Union, African Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC), East African Community (EAC) Liberia, South Africa, local observers from Rwanda Civil Society Platform and the Consultative Forum for Political Parties” said Munyaneza. 

 

He however added that NEC accredits only agencies and entities, not individuals. 

 

He pointed out that most of the observers come in towards the elections yet they are supposed to observe the whole process to the polling day- which in this case is September 16. 

“Although it would be more appropriate for the observers to follow the process from the beginning, we are aware of the challenges they face like lack of resources … So far, three officials from the European Union are in the country as observers and they have witnessed the submission of candidatures,” Munyaneza said. 

Minimised cost

The elections will cost Rwf5 billion, Rwf4 billion less than what was spent in the 2008 polls, and Munyaneza attributed this to improved experience in conducting elections by NEC staff, proper storage of equipment used in previous elections, and the increase in the number of election volunteers. 

Munyaneza added that the reason the cost is smaller this year is because the commission still has some of the facilities such as ballot boxes, a printer for ballot papers, civic education materials, among others.

Previously, Rwanda printed all the ballot papers from South Africa before NEC acquired advanced printers capable of printing quality ballot papers. 

“We have not started printing yet but we will start on August 19 after we have received the final list of candidates who will appear on the ballot,” he said. 

Meanwhile, some of the election materials are being moved to the polling stations, including ballot boxes. 

The boxes to be used are those that were used in the presidential elections of 2010, which officials say were well kept.

According to NEC, 1551 plastic ballot boxes will be used across the country. 

Submission continues 

By the time this newspaper visited NEC offices yesterday, the process of submitting candidatures was on going. 

Jean Bosco Karanganwa submitted his candidature for the disabled representative. 

“I am very thrilled by the way aspiring candidates are being handled here. They offered me all the assistance I needed and now, my candidature has been received,” said Karanganwa, a labour inspector in Gicumbi District. He had his certification letter with him.

Michel Habineza, 80, showed up at NEC yesterday morning to submit his candidature. 

Dressed in a sky-blue checkered shirt, grey trousers and slippers, Habineza had managed to put together the requirements except a list of 600 signatures of his supporters from all the 30 districts. 

He told The New Times that he was to get the signatures and submit a complete dossier to NEC before the Monday deadline.

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