Rwanda holds local government elections close to a year of delay due to COVID-19

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This weekend Rwanda kicked off local government elections nearly a year of delay due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The elections, which had been scheduled for February 2020, were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rwandans turned up in numbers in their respective villages across the country to elect their representatives to the village executive committee.

“Voting was conducted in strict compliance with social distancing measures, wearing of face masks and the use of hand sanitizers as well as washing of hands with soap and water,” Kalisa Mbanda, Chairperson, National Electoral Commission (NEC) told reporters on Saturday in the Rwandan capital city Kigali.

He said that citizens elected their representatives to the village executive committee and village executive committee will elect cell level executive committee leaders.

According to him, elections will take place in phases depending on administrative levels and the whole exercise will last for more than three weeks.

The executive committee at the cell level will elect sector executive committee.

Elections at the sector level are scheduled for November 6, whereas at the district level they will take place on November 9, where district councillors and the executive committee will be elected, said Mbanda.

These will be followed by the elections of the executive committee of women and disabled people at the provincial and after, the national level, according to him.

NEC will announce the final results from the elections on November 26.

The results that will be announced are the districts and provincial elections as well as few posts campaigned for at the national level.

There are 340,000 seats in local leadership that are set to be occupied by new leaders.

The posts awaiting new leaders include committees at village, cell, sector and district level and members of councils for special interest groups namely women and youth councils, and the council of people living with disabilities.

Women must constitute at least 30 percent of each council from village to the district level, according to Mbanda.

Rwanda’s local government leaders serve a mandate of five years.