MP Elections: 12 out of 17 independent candidates self-disqualified


The National Electoral Commission in Rwanda,NEC announced  among 17 people who had shown their willingness to run as independent candidates in the parliamentary elections scheduled from 2 to 4 September this year, only 5 returned to follow up on their files. The 12 who no longer reappeared at the NEC office include a woman.

Asked about the latent motives behind this situation, NEC President Prof. Kalisa Mbanda asked the journalist to try to give these reasons too. “Any Rwandan can find his motive,” he says finally after the reporter told him that it is up to the commission to do this analysis.

Some argue that the ground is not yet favourable to independent candidates in the elections because the path is sometimes difficult. A citizen of the Nyarugenge district, anonymously said “There are places where the electoral activities of free candidates are bickered or blocked by local authorities.”

The same scenario would be the driving force of the discouragement of these candidates who must complete a list of 600 signatures of supporters of their candidacy throughout the country.

“Even though the highest authorities of our country have often been heard urging local authorities to facilitate independent candidates, it has always been like wind blowing for a few,” thinks John Kwizera, a resident of the Bumbogo sector in the district of Gasabo in the city of Kigali.

Kwizera also notes that some Rwandans confuse the fact of standing for election as free candidates to the rebellion to the state in place. “They do not know that ‘from the shock of ideas springs the light’! he said, before apologizing that this vision was traced by some who, for them, to be in opposition or free candidates had always been synonymous with destruction of what the others have done or political quarrels. “And besides, that is why we refuse to give them our signatures fearing to be seen badly” he concludes.

For Joseph Manishimwe, a law student at the ULK, asking people to tour the country looking for the 600 signatures ends the path to the independent bid. “But they will still have to do the same trick at the time of the campaign”, he said.

Even the 5 candidates are not all eligible

The NEC announces that among the 5 free candidates who still show their will, 3 have not yet completed their file. They miss some signatures but there is hope that at the publication of the final list, everything will have already been settled.

The four independent candidates whose candidacies are finally accepted are Elissam Salim Ntibanyendera, Ally Hussein Sebagenzi, Janvier Nsengiyumva,  and Phillipe Mpayimana, the former unfortunate independent candidate at the presidential candidate 2017.

History has left some lessons

In Rwanda, all the free candidates have always come up against the law or a principle of gaining 5% of all the votes.  Up to now, whether in presidential or parliamentary elections no one has ever managed to get 5% of the votes to benefit from the privileges in compliance.

They think that the chances are not the same. At the moment when a political party that realizes this 5% is entitled to three members in parliament, a free candidate is asked to do the same to deserve only one place!

“In Rwanda, independent candidates to the legislatives have always been accepted and at the same time denied to parliament but with good reason,” jokes an unnamed source. It justifies: “If an independent MP entered parliament, and it became necessary to be replaced, it would ask the state to hold elections at the level of the whole country because they cannot borrow the same procedure indicated for these deputies who come from political parties or those who represent groups of known people, because there, the list counts! ”

An independent MP would always be independent because he/she is not on any common list. And if he/she won, he/she would be first and last on his/her own list.

Transparency International country Representative Rwanda, Ingabire Marie Immaculée was heard claiming   on Saturday, July 14, 2018, that a private candidate has no place in parliament.

In her remarks, she discourages them, and advises them not to waste time and financial resources that are not recoverable. “Free candidates risk spending and struggling for nothing”

Jean Baptiste Karegeya/

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