At least 40,000 Rwandans in the diaspora will have another opportunity on August 3 to choose a leader who will steer the affairs of the country in the next seven years.
The country’s electoral commission said all is ready for the voting exercise as polling materials have arrived at almost all the 98 polling stations in the 33 countries where Rwanda has diplomatic missions.
“What we are doing now is following up together with a team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure the materials arrive in all destinations,” executive secretary of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Charles Munyaneza told local media New Times on Wednesday.
He added that ballot papers and tally sheets were shipped to the respective countries, and the embassies were empowered to purchase ballot boxes to ease the pressure of transporting them.
According to him, every city in the eligible countries with more than 40 Rwandan registered voters will have at least one polling station.
The NEC had launched an online registration platform in May which had registered over 40,000 voters.
China has only one polling station at the Rwandan Embassy in Beijing due to the country’s laws against setting up polling stations outside another country’s embassy, he explained.
India will have six polling stations at the embassy in New Delhi and five universities across the country.
Canada will have four voting stations and the United States will have nine.
The Rwandan communities will choose among themselves about three people and send their names to their respective embassies for appointment as election volunteers.
The presiding officer of each polling station will communicate the results to the embassy in the country and the consolidated results sent back to the NEC through a designated communication system.
Incumbent President Paul Kagame of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, who is also the favourite in the elections, is holding big rallies around the country.
The other two contenders – the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda’s Frank Habineza and independent presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana – are holding low-key rallies in the respectively.
Elections will be held on August 3 in the diaspora and August 4 in Rwanda.
Winner of the polls will get a seven-year term to steer the affairs of the country seen as one of Africa’s rising economic powerhouses.