Local leaders’ elections budget cut to Rwf 3.5 billion

On 11 January 2021 at 10:01

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has revealed that the budget for this year’s local leaders’ elections has been reduced from Rwf 5 billion of 2018 to Rwf 3.5 billion despite the increased number of voters.

The new development has been revealed by NEC Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza during a talk show aired on Rwanda Television.

The budget that was prepared before Coronavirus pandemic might however be increased because there were no considerations for some expenses like hand sanitizers at every polling station, water to wash hands, and others related to the prevention of Covid-19.

“Citizens’ participation during elections increases as years pass by. The higher number of voters should correspond to increased budget but it should not be a burden to the country which has other areas of focus to promote citizens’ progress,” he said.

“The budget was prepared in 2019. We didn’t know that Coronavirus would emerge. Thus, the budget might increase due to measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 given that polling rooms will be increased from 16,000 of 2016 to almost 17,000,” added Munyaneza.

At least 1.3 million contenders are expected to participate in upcoming elections while 600 are set to vote for the first time.

As Munyaneza explained, the budget is estimated at Rwf 3.5 billion down from Rwf 5 billion of parliamentarians’ elections in 2018.

NEC is set to start receive candidatures for aspirants to join districts’ advisory committee.

NEC Chairman, Prof Kalisa Mbanda revealed that applications will be submitted online to contain the spread of COVID-19.

He highlighted that Coronavirus preventive measures will also be observed during local leaders elections scheduled on 20th to 22nd February 2021.

“Our team has recently visited different sites countrywide to assess if polling stations have enough spaces or need more rooms. Usually, people would interact being closer to each other but we have taken measures enabling voters to respect social distancing to contain the spread of Covid-19,” said Mbanda.

NEC timetable shows that villages’ advisory committees will be elected on 20th February 2021 while cell and sectors’ advisory committees will be elected between 20th and 22nd February 2021.

On 5th March 2021, there will be elections for districts’ advisory committees and executive committees (mayor and vice mayors).

Only Rwandans aged 18 years without particular restrictions are eligible to vote.

Those eligible to vote should not have been served more than 6 month-sentence, should not be pinned to murder cases, not involved in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Among others, an individual sacked from public service is not allowed not vote.

NEC figures show that a total of 6, 469, 037 voters participated in 2016 local leaders elections while 2018 parliamentary elections attracted 7, 172,612 voters.

So far, 7,856,406 voters are registered on the provisional list of elections scheduled from 20th to 22nd February 2021.

The new development has been revealed by NEC Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza during a talk show aired on Rwanda Television.