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8-15 December 2015

Media Monitoring Report for Rwanda
Posted on December 18, 2015

Compiled by Berta Fürstová

Report content

  1. Referendum on the revised Constitution will be held on December 18
  2. Green Party complains about short period to rally a ‘NO’ campaign
  3. MPs on countrywide tour to urge residents to vote
1. Referendum on the revised Constitution will be held on December 18;
Private but pro-government newspapers

“Constitutional referendum to be held next week” by James Munyaneza. New Times, 9th December 2015

  • President Paul Kagame has called a referendum on the revised Constitution.
  • According to resolutions from Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet subsequently set December 17 as the date on which Rwandans in the Diaspora will vote, while those inside the country will go to the polls on December 18.
Private independent newspapers

“6.4 million Rwandans to take part in the referendum” by Stevenson Mugisha. Rwanda Focus, 10th December 2015

  • The chairman of the national electoral commission (NEC), Prof. Kalisa Mbanda, has said that 6.4 million Rwandans are currently registered to take part in the forthcoming referendum.
  • Mbanda confirmed that the referendum will be held on December 17 in the Diaspora and December 18 in Rwanda.
  • The question which will be asked to the voters is: ‘Do you agree with the constitution of the Republic of Rwanda which was amended this year of 2015?’ The answer will be either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’,” Mbanda said.
  • The referendum will be decided by a score of 50% plus one additional vote.
  • He further explained that although there is relatively little time between the cabinet’s decision and the referendum date, the electoral commission is well prepared to carry out the vote.
  • “Based on how Rwandans petitioned parliament and how the parliament approved it, it was clear that the referendum would take place. So we started preparing for it in advance,” Mbanda explained.
  • Mbanda announced that over 40,000 Rwandans living in the Diaspora have so far registered to vote, adding that they have invited development partners operating in the country to send election observers.
  • He added that provisional results will be announced on December 19, while the final results will be declared two days later.
  • The executive secretary of NEC, Charles Munyaneza, said that the electoral body is using various means to encourage the population to participate in the referendum elections.
  • “There are 98,000 election volunteers at the community level countrywide. We are lucky that we use one language in Rwanda, so whatever message is sent to the citizens is clearly understood. We have put in place all the necessary mechanisms and we are confident that the referendum will be held smoothly,” Munyaneza said.
2. Green Party complains about short period to rally a ‘NO’ campaign
Private but pro-government newspapers

“NEC dismisses Green Party's claims on referendum campaigns” by Rodrigue Rwirahira. New Times, 11th December 2015

  • Nobody was prohibited from carrying out referendum campaigns as long as they comply with legal obligations, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has said.
  • NEC executive secretary Charles Munyaneza, who was responding to claims by Democratic Green Party of Rwanda that it had been prohibited from carrying out a ‘No’ vote campaign ahead of next week’s referendum on the proposed amendments of the Constitution.
  • While Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and Liberal Party (PL) are rallying members in a ‘YES’ campaign, Green Party claimed that the campaign period was not ample for a ‘No’ vote.
  • In a statement, the opposition party officials said, due to the short period to the polling day [December 17 and 18], a five-day notice to rally a ‘NO’ campaign to the constitution amendment was not possible.
  • Munyaneza said campaigns close 24 hours before the Election Day, otherwise people are free to campaign using whatever means they have.
  • On elections observers, Prof. Mbanda, the NEC chairperson, said invitations to a number of international institutions were sent out. “We expect around 1,700 international and regional observers, if our invitations are honoured; otherwise everything else is in place,” he said.


3. MPs on countrywide tour to urge residents to vote
Private but pro-government newspapers

 “The ball is now in your court, MPs tell citizens” by Eugene Kwibuka. New Times, 12th December 2015

  • Members of Parliament started a countrywide tour to explain changes made in the revised Constitution and carried a message for citizens to actively participate in the forthcoming referendum.
  • In Kigali City’s Gasabo District, residents listened as MPs explained changes made in the Constitution. “The Constitution has been modified in line with your ideas,” MP Nikuze told the excited residents.
  • Upon hearing that, many of the residents applauded for the changes and started dancing and singing songs praising the President and his governance style. “It’s fun to vote for Paul and I thank you for making it possible,” Théoneste Uwizera, a resident, told the lawmakers. Sandra Tuyishime, another resident, agreed, saying “I thank God for having given us a good leader.”
  • Other residents also thanked the MPs for having accepted their wishes to keep President Kagame in office and urged fellow residents to choose “Yes” when they vote in the referendum. “This is the day (referendum day) we’ve been waiting for. I would like to urge others not to shy away from voting ‘Yes’,” said Aloys Ntagwabira, another resident in Gasabo.
  • MP Marie Rose Mureshyankwano urged the residents to approve the Constitution revised by Parliament because it contains provisions that are in line with their wishes. “We are here to ask you that you approve and confirm that we represented you well, please don’t let us down. You gave us your ideas and we agreed with them, it’s now time for you to approve them by voting ‘Yes,’” she said.
  • The MPs’ discussions with the people will run from December 11 to 16 and will target all the country’s 416 sectors, says a statement issued by Parliament.


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