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Rwandans in Kenya vote in parliamentary election

Members of Rwandan community living in Kenya on Sunday cast their ballots in the country’s parliamentary elections.

The main polling station, which is at the Rwandan Embassy in Gigiri, Nairobi, opened its doors as early as 6am for the country’s illegible voters living in the diaspora led by the High Commissioner to Kenya Ambassador James Kimonyo.

The exercise – known as ‘Amatora’ and is a precursor to the main parliamentary elections which will happen at the national level on Monday, September 3 – drew a large number of the Rwandan community in Nairobi.

Among those who cast their votes was the country’s former Prime Minister Pierre-Celestin Rwigema, now a member of East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA).

VOTER TURNOUT

“We had higher numbers during the presidential election last year but we are expecting not less than 2, 000 people or thereabout. By 5pm or 6pm we will know the voter turnout status. I was here as early as 6am where we witnessed high numbers including even members of Rwanda U-20 volleyball team,” said Mr Kimonyo.

Ambassador Kimonyo explained that Rwandans in the diaspora are allowed to vote a day before the main election because of the different time zones involved.

He said there are five political parties taking part in this year’s elections including the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Social Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Rwanda Democratic Green Party and PS-Imberakuri, together with four independents.

“The law provides for members of Rwandan community living across the world to participate in this democratic process. We have two polling stations for the parliamentary elections in Kenya. The main one in Nairobi while the other one is in Mombasa,” said the Ambassador.

SEATS UP FOR GRABS

He pointed out that this is the fourth parliamentary election in the East African country since the adoption of a new Constitution in 2003 and is held after every five years with the first one was held the same year of the adoption of the new Constitution.

The Rwandan parliament consist of 80 seats, with 30 percent, or 24 seats reserved for women. Two seats are reserved for the youth and a single one for people living with disability. Meaning that only 53 seats are up for grabs for the different political parties contesting the elections.

He explained that after casting of the ballots, the polling stations will close, and the ballot boxes kept in a secure place.

Thereafter, the counting of the votes will begin on Monday at 3pm before the numbers are relayed to the National Electoral Commission in Kigali where they will be combined with results from different constituencies in Rwanda.