Who elects deputies in special categories?

By Esther Muhozi
On 29 May 2024 at 10:56

Since the National Electoral Commission (NEC) began accepting candidacy applications for those aspiring to become Members of Parliament and run for President in the upcoming July 2024 elections, over 150 individuals have applied to enter the Parliament through special categories.

According to NEC, elections are scheduled for July 15, 2024, for Rwandans in the country and July 14, 2024, for Rwandans living abroad.

On that day, 53 deputies will be elected from political parties and independent candidates, followed by elections for special categories, including women, youth, and people with disabilities, the next day.

Many often confuse elections for special categories with general elections in which all citizens participate, although they are different.

For special category elections, deputies are not elected by all citizens as will be the case on July 15. Instead, they are elected by representatives of those categories.

The law stipulates that, for the women’s category, the electoral body includes members of the executive committees of the National Women’s Council from the village level to the national level, members of the sector councils in the electoral area, and members of the district councils in the province.

Among the 24 elected deputies, the Eastern Province elects six women, the Western Province six, the Southern Province six, the Northern Province four, and the City of Kigali two women. Currently, NEC has received over 135 women applying to enter Rwanda’s Parliament.

For representatives of people with disabilities, one person is elected by the executive committee of the National Council of People with Disabilities from the district level to the national level, and coordinators of the council at each sector level.

Since May 17, 2024, when NEC started receiving applications for the position of one deputy representing people with disabilities, 11 candidates have applied for this position.

Another special category in these elections is the two deputies who represent the youth in Rwanda’s Parliament.

So far, 19 candidates have applied for this category, including well-known names such as Mucyo Samson, known as Samu Zuby in cinema, and Fiston Niyitanga, who works in tourism, among others.

Here, the electoral body includes members of the executive committees of the National Youth Council at the district and national levels.

On the other hand, among the deputies elected by the general public, there are already 13 independent candidates, including one woman and several young people.

There are also candidates presented by various political parties, with the PDI party presenting 55 candidates, PL presenting 54 deputies, PS Imberakuri presenting 80, PSD presenting 66 candidates, the Green Party presenting 65, and others presented by the FPR Inkotanyi organization.

For the Presidential position, three candidates have applied, including Paul Kagame representing RPF Inkotanyi, Dr. Frank Habineza presented by the Green Party, and Manirareba Herman as an independent candidate.

The process of receiving candidacies is expected to end on May 30, 2024, followed by the verification of whether the candidates meet the requirements before announcing the final list of approved candidates.