The recommendation was made on Monday while the Senate Political Affairs and Good Governance commission presented report findings on how election fundamental pillars were upheld during September parliamentary elections compared to previous exercises.
While the report indicated a steady increase in voters’ participation from 38 % to 40% especially as a result of more women running for leadership positions and increases in population numbers, Senate was concerned over discrepancy in use of required documents for voters.
Senator Charles Uyisenga asked if the senate commission discussed this issue with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to certify the importance of the ID card and Voter card.
Normally voters are asked to show voter cards before they vote but common practice has been that some voters who don’t have the card, but show an ID are allowed to exercise their right.
“That means if all of us woke up without voters’ cards, but with IDs, we can vote; then what are voters’ cards for? Surprisingly, those who don’t have are not allowed to use IDs in the morning, yet in afternoon they are granted permission to vote,” Uyisenga said.
Commission Chairperson Jean Nepomuscène Sindikubwabo said that there is possibility that the voters card will be going away to cut the budget constraints and make it easy for voters to participate.
“The tendency in discussions we had with the electoral commission was that very soon the voter cards will be phased out. The ID has all details in the voter card,” Sindikubwabo said.
Sindikubwabo said that the turnout during the parliamentary election in September 2018 was high, as it was the case for presidential election but there is an urgent need to improve vote management.
During the session, Senate highly recommended the need to have monetary valuation of the contribution of election volunteers among other logistics.
The commission report indicated that budget constraints in organizing elections and civic education remains a concern and needs to be addressed urgently.
For example the cost of conducting parliamentary polls dropped from Rwf7.65 billion in 2008 to Rwf5.43 billion in 2013, before dropping further to Rwf5.4 billion in 2018.
However, some Senators said that Rwanda has the ability to use its homegrown solutions to have a sustainable electoral process. They argued that Volunteerism is one of such mechanisms.