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Rwanda starts campaigning as parliamentary polls draw closer   

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwandan President Paul Kagame who is also the chairman of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) on Thursday started canvassing for votes for the RPF candidates as parliamentary elections draw closer.

Rwandans will go to the polls from Sept. 2 to 4 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, for a five-year term, according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

RPF has 70 nominated candidates and its six coalition parties have 10, according to NEC.

Kagame started his campaigns in Muganza sector, Gisagara District of Southern province, where he addressed thousands of RPF supporters.

Addressing ruling party supporters, Kagame said that RPF has laid the foundation of the Rwanda’s progress and the party still needs time and enough support in the parliament to accomplish what it started.

The RPF manifesto for the 4th parliament highlights job creation, agriculture transformation, private sector development, urban development and enhancing economic development.

According to NEC, the RPF had selected 80 candidates but left 10 places to other political parties including Centrist Democratic Party, Rwanda Socialist Party, Party for Progress and Concord, Democratic Union of the Rwandan People and the Prosperity and Solidarity Party.

The elections of the lower house use one single nationwide constituency, where 53 seats will be directly elected by proportional representation. The other 27 seats reserved for special interest groups including women, the young and the disabled will be elected indirectly.

The number of parliamentary candidates is 521, including 302 from political parties, four independent candidates, 26 for the youth, 10 for people living with disabilities, and 179 for women slots, according to NEC.

RPF parliamentary candidates are tussling out for the parliamentary seats with candidates from the opposition parties of Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda as well as independent candidates.



Disasters caused by heavy rains claim 222 lives in Rwanda in six months: official

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- At least 222 people lost their lives in natural disasters caused by heavy rains across Rwanda between January and June this year

Rwandan Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs De bonheur Jeanne d’Arc told Xinhua in a phone interview on Wednesday that heavy downpour destroyed 8,978 hectares of crops, 49 bridges, and 754 livestock lost their lives in the same period.

“The government has so far spent more than 911,915 U.S. dollars as relief aid packages to the affected population,” she noted.

According to her, the damage caused by the heavy downpour was exacerbated by poor construction and substandard materials, poor drainage systems and unplanned communities springing up in high-risk areas.

The minister said that the government has embarked on a campaign to sensitize the public about the dangers of residing on high risk zones and unplanned settlements.

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