A total of 72,000 polling officers will be deployed across the country to supervise the upcoming parliamentary polls, according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The officers will be stationed at the 2,291 polling centres which the commission has set up ahead of the September 16-18 elections for new members of the 80-person Chamber of Deputies.
A polling centre will have a number of polling stations and each of the 15,500 stations will be manned by at least four officers, according to Charles Munyaneza, the NEC executive secretary.
Munyaneza told The New Times that all polling officers would be in their respective areas of deployment by September 14, two days before the general election.
“We are looking at four officers per polling station,” he said, adding that they are all volunteers, who will only be provided with transport, meals and communication.
He said that the commission has already assigned polling officers up to the sector level, with deployment over the next two weeks to focus on all cells and villages across the country. The country has 416 sectors, 2,148 cells and more than 14,000 villages.
Most polling centres are public primary schools.
However, Munyaneza said, the elections will not disrupt school schedules since the main polling day (Monday, September 16) will be a public holiday.
On that day, every registered voter will be expected to participate in the exercise to pick 53 MPs through universal suffrage, while the two other days will see electoral colleges for special interest groups pick their respective representatives.
How polls will roll
On September 17, women electoral colleges in five designated constituencies will elect a total of 24 women representatives, while on September 18, members of the electoral colleges for the youth and persons living with disabilities will pick their representatives as well.
The youth have two slots in the Lower Chamber and the disabled one.
Munyaneza said the commission will use the weekend preceding the September 16 to deliver election materials to the schools which will serve as polling centres to avoid interrupting classes.
NEC officials say they are now getting electoral kits ready, and that preparations are going on smoothly.
The commission says to minimise costs, the ballot boxes that will be used are the ones that were used during the 2010 presidential elections of 2010, which officials say were well kept and are all in good shape.
The NEC executive secretary said that the ballot papers for the 53 openly contested seats will bear the names and symbols of the political parties in the running, and photos of independent candidates.
The ballot paper for special interest groups will also bear the photos of aspiring candidates.
NEC is printing the ballot papers.
The September 16 elections will feature the RPF-led coalition of five political parties, and three other political parties, namely PL, PSD and PS-Imberakuri, as well as the four independent candidates.
The elections will cost Rwf5 billion, Rwf4 billion less than what was spent in the 2008 polls, and NEC attributed this to improved experience in conducting elections by its staff, proper storage of materials used in previous elections, and the increase in the number of election volunteers.
A total of 5,953,351 Rwandans, including 31,514 members of Diaspora, are expected to cast their vote are expected to take part in the parliamentary elections, according to the final voters’ list published on Sunday.