Home NewsNational Welcome Move: Rwanda Harmonizing Elections Will Minimise Political Party Expenses

Welcome Move: Rwanda Harmonizing Elections Will Minimise Political Party Expenses

by Daniel Sabiiti
1:29 am

 

MPs Frank Habineza and Christine Mukabunani said harmonizing elections would cut down party expenses.

Opposition Political Parties leaders in Rwanda have welcome the proposed move to synchronise legislative and presidential polls saying that it will cut down expenses incurred by political parties to participate in multiple elections in two years.

The development follows the revelation last week by the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) , Oda Gasinzigwa, that consultations were ongoing to synchronize the two major elections to minimize the cost and time spent on holding elections in two consecutive years.

The move would also align Rwanda’s electoral process with that of the East African Community (EAC) where the two polls are held together.

Besides local leader’s election, the NEC conducts Presidential, Parliamentary elections which are held in different years depending on the number of mandate years that each position takes.

NEC said that holding the elections simultaneously would save the government from over spending on two elections and instead enable the government to meet the goal of fully funding its own elections.

A single election in Rwanda as of 2018 cost close to Rwf 7 Billion and Rwanda has been steadily increasing its budget from Rwf 3 Billion- Rwf5billion used in previous election years.

NEC Secretary General, Charles Munyaneza said that this would be an opportunity to have half of the funds saved and reused for other purposes.

This reduction in expenses will also be reflected in political party budgets. For instance, PS imberakuri revealed that they would be able to save Rwf 52 million used in previous elections.

MP Christine Mukabunani, PS imberakuri President said that such expenses affect implementation of other party activities even though the benefits of participating in an election are more and have a positive impact to the party and members to exercise their democratic rights.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) revealed that they use Rwf 1 Billion ($1million) in each election and said that this will also help political parties to prepare well for the campaigns and not be so much financially strained by going into elections in two successive years, like it was in 2017 (presidential) and 2018 (parliamentary).

Though the politicians support the idea, which is in the benefit, they stated that it must be done in accordance with the Constitution and laws governing the electoral process have to also be harmonized to suit the changes taken.

“Citizens must be able to understand the reasons, especially knowing why this is happening and if it is in line with the laws, the constitution and knowing how long the mandate of elected MPs will last if it is five years or seven years as in the presidential term,” Mukabunani said.

The NEC is yet to propose how the idea of harmonized elections will be implemented. Legislative polls are scheduled for September while Presidential elections will take place next year.

Though this is a new process that will require amendment of the constitution (articles 76 and 79) and some laws and years of each mandate, similar exercises have been implemented in other EAC countries such as Uganda, and Kenya.

 

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