Kigali: As dictated by the election law, August 08 – the day before the country heads to the ballot on Monday at 06:00, there has been no open campaigning, but it looks the competing parties have found a way out.
All through the day, no rallies were held. The media was also ordered by the Media High Council that there will be no campaign messages.
State radio and TV continued to run NEC messages explaining how the voting will be happening; where the voters will be going; and which documents they need to carry with them. There was also the regular Sunday ‘Kubaza Bitera Kumenya’ program on state radio and TV where the NEC answered varying queries from audience.
On voting day, nobody is allowed to come to vote with anything that shows a party message. Voters are expected to arrive quietly at the voting center, stand in the line, and cast their votes without raising any campaign messages. After voting, they should leave the venue, but will need to return when polls close to follow the open campaigning.
The vote tally for every center will be posted there immediately after counting, a system which was proposed by the European Union after the 2008 parliamentary polls.
The police Commissioner General Emmanuel Gasana also had a lengthy interview on state radio assuring the population that there will be no trouble all through the poll period. Police officers have been deployed at all the polling centers across the country, he said.
A review of the news programming suggests no news on any candidates or the parties vying for the presidency. The electoral law forbids the media from doing that, as it is considered campaigning.
Meanwhile, the African Union observer team held a press conference where they dismissed long standing concerns raised by critics that there has been pre-election intimidation.
AU team said it had not received any proof indicating intimidation.
Coincidentally, PSD candidate Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo is having his birth-day today. When RNA contacted him Sunday evening, the birth day boy said he spent the day with his family.
“I rested at home with my wife and two daughters,” said Ntawukuriryayo. “They prepared for me my delicious meal with green banana and meat. They sung for me happy birth day early in the morning, and offered me a nice bouquet of rose flowers.”
He added: “I am happy to celebrate at this vibrant democratic period of my country.”
Dr. Ntawukuriryayo was born in Runyinya in former Butare prefecture (now part of Southern province) on August 8, 1961. After pursuing a career in academia, he was appointed the Minister of State in Charge of Higher Education and Scientific Research in 1999.
Pharmacist by profession, Ntawukuriryayo also held the post of Vice Rector of the National University of Rwanda. A father of three children (NOT FOUR AS REPORTED EARLIER), the Social Democratic Party's flag bearer in the upcoming presidential election is described as a soft spoken bureaucrat.
Even though open vote-searching ended yesterday, small groups can be seen in different places in Kigali. Some campaign teams are even doing house-to-house convincing.
Across the country, individual communities spent the day preparing where they will vote for, with help from NEC officials.
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