The Democratic Green Party candidate, Dr Frank Habineza, has on Tuesday seen the scheduled venue for rally suddenly changed shortly after his arrival in Kirehe District, where school children welcomed him with other party’s flags, in presence of Rosalie Mukamazera, the vice chair of NEC.
It is said that his rally was shifted to a different venue that looked empty and restricted for residents after the local authorities told them to leave the venue.
Arriving at the then new venue in Kirehe town, Habineza’s rally was rather interrupted by students who were with flags in support with a different candidate.
Habineza had no choice as he shifted to a different venue which was not his planned one, having suddenly been told by local administration that he has to shift to Rubimba cell site, miles away from the town, 30 minutes to travel the dust road from the district headquarters.
He, as expected, could not find any supporter at the changed venue, with reports saying that even those who traveled to the new venue were told by local authorities to leave the venue before Habineza arrived.
During his campaign, no local leader appeared at the venue to welcome candidate Habineza, as all authorities were saying they had other business to do in the meantime so they cannot be there.
School kids on the campaign site, shame to education officials
Habineza’s rally was further interrupted by primary students who came to the venue carrying RPF flags in their bags and started to lift them up singing separate songs from that Green Party’s, when Habineza was explaining to them his manifesto, all subject to discourage him during his rally.
These children, who were off from their studies as they are in the examinations period, appeared to disturb Habineza and his party’s morale rhythm and it seemed they were on a mission to interrupt the rally as if they someone told them to.
However, district education officials feel ashamed and regret such attitude. They strongly warn headteachers to reinforce discipline in schools, especially during these moments of examinations and electoral campaigns. Theophile Mwanangu, Education director in Kirehe says, “It is prohibited to supply children with political matters, and it is against NEC instructions. Moreover, teachers and school staff should explain to students that this is not their time to be involved in politics, but reinforce discipline inside the schools”.
On behalf of Mwanangu, using children in political issues is wrong and illegal, and calls upon anyone doing so, to think deep about these children’s future.
Back to NEC, whose deputy chair witnessed the incident, Rosalie Mukamazera picks the phone and says to be in Bugesera for campaign reasons, but wish a written message instead of a call, due to noise. The message, “ As NEC official, how do you appreciate school kids in uniforms to attend campaign site, bearing flags of political parties, as you experienced it in Kirehe yesterday?”.The answer is “I’ll talk to you later”. After an hour, she explained that it was a “simple incident, as it was time to leave and go to school. That’s all about my point of view”. About political party’s symbols in hands of school kids, this NEC official says it’s wrong. “I think children have been picking them from rubbish, kids are stubborn you know, otherwise it is not allowed”.
According to an expert in electoral process, an official of a commission is a referee on a campaign site, to observ respect of laws and instructions there. However, “a campaign site is a public space, where any one can attend with different clothes, and beyond control of the referee. Though, such incidents may occur, but risks depend on the way campaigners manage it”.
By the time the rally closed its session, people run to welcome the party’s car, which makes feeling of a crucial indicator that they could have been stopped from going where the rally was held before.
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