Parties gear up for campaigns

Following the release of the final list of parliamentary candidates who will contest in the September 16 polls, political parties that will be vying for the 53 seats say all is set as they await the campaign phase.
NEC chief Prof. Kalisa Mbanda says all is set for the September 16 parliamentary polls. The New Times/ John Mbanda.
NEC chief Prof. Kalisa Mbanda says all is set for the September 16 parliamentary polls. The New Times/ John Mbanda.

Following the release of the final list of parliamentary candidates who will contest in the September 16 polls, political parties that will be vying for the 53 seats say all is set as they await the campaign phase.

The parliament has 80 seats but only 53 will be contested for through universal adult suffrage, while the remaining 27 are reserved for special interest groups.

According to the electoral calendar released by the National Electoral Commission, campaigns are set to begin on Monday, August 26 with 269 party candidates and independent candidates criss-crossing the country to canvass for votes.

All candidates including those seeking to represent women, the youth and persons with disabilities are 410.

The ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), which won majority seats in the 2008 parliamentary elections, says it has already drawn an attractive manifesto to be the guiding tool during the campaigns.

“Rwandans need something new and we are going to give them just that. Our manifesto is about building on the current achievements we have registered so far,” said RPF Secretary General Francois Ngarambe.

Dr Anita Asiimwe, RPF campaign coordinator, said, “We are well prepared for the campaigns; we have acquired most of what we will need to use in the campaigns and we are now  ready for the official launch.”

The party will launch its campaign in Kamonyi District in the Southern Province, according to Asiimwe, also Minister of State for Primary Healthcare.

So far, the RPF-led coalition has fielded 80 aspirants; the highest number of contestants compared to other parties.

RPF coalition partners Ideal Democratic Party (PDI), Parti Socialiste Rwandais (PSR), Parti du Progrès et la Concorde (PPC) and Centrist Democratic Party (PDC) have two candidates each on the list.

The Social Democratic Party, (PSD) ranked second among the parties that fielded more candidates after the RPF-led coalition with 76 and the party leader, Dr Vincent Burita says that they are more than ready for the campaigns.

Cordination mechanisms 


“We have all the coordination mechanisms in place, all the materials that we will need are also available. We are set for the campaigns,” said Biruta, who is also the Minister of Education.

PSD will launch its national campaigns from Gicumbi District.

Among those in line to make a comeback on the PSD list include long-serving parliamentarian and first post-Genocide Speaker Juvénal Nkusi, who is number one on PSD list.

In the Liberal Party (PL) camp, officials say they have also put together all the requirements for the campaigns including the manifesto they would use to draw votes in their favour.

According to Protais Mitali, the party president, “we have a budget allocated for the campaigns along with other necessities. We intend to launch our campaigns in Rusizi district.”

PL returned all its out going members, and added Senator Donatille Mukabalisa on its list of candidates.

By the time Parliament was dissolved by President Paul Kagame early this month, PL had four legislators while PSD had seven.

A new player in the race, PS Imberakuri also says that it is set for the campaigns which it intends to launch from the City of Kigali.

“In brief, our manifesto will focus on education, health and agriculture. We have prepared a budget for the campaigns but we agreed not to reveal how much it is,” said Christine Mukabunani, the party head.

Under the law that governs political parties in the country, foreign donations and bequests are prohibited, meaning that all funds should be internally generated, notably from the party members.

The campaigns will also feature four independent candidates who include; Venuste Bizirema, Gilbert Mwenedata, Léonille Mutuyimana and Clovis Ganza.

Close to six million voters are expected to take part in the election and NEC has set up 2,291 polling centres in 2,148 cells across the country and about 15,500 polling stations in 14,953 villages.

Up to 28,304 Rwandans in the Diaspora have registered to participate in the poll.

The general electorate will elect 53 MPs standing on political party or individual tickets on September 16, while the elections for representatives for the youth and the disabled are slated for September 17, and women for September 18. The poll will cost Rwf5 billion.

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