Top officials of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) yesterday held discussions with the Adviser and Head of the Democracy Section at the Commonwealth Secretariat, who was part of a Commonwealth delegation that failed to make the highly anticipated trip to Rwanda.
A group of experts led by the Deputy Secretary General, Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, was scheduled to visit the country this week to identify areas in which the Commonwealth can engage with Rwanda, but their flights were cancelled due to the volcanic cloud that has disrupted air transport in Europe.
However, Mark Stevens who was already in Africa when the eruption occurred, met Prof. Chryslogue Karangwa, the chairman of the electoral body and the Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza, where they discussed the forthcoming Presidential polls.
In an interview with The New Times, Stevens who is in the country to do a pre-election assessment said that the Commonwealth is ‘very much interested’ to honour the invitation to observe the August 9 elections, adding that the meeting was aimed at providing updates to the Commonwealth and also discuss the role of the body.
“I was here to get updates on number of issues including voter registration process, recruitment process and the logistical preparations,” he said.
He added that the Commonwealth would arrange another date for the entire entourage to visit and that the 54-member state body is looking to work with Rwanda towards free and fair presidential elections. “We will come, we will observe and we will see how they are conducted. We always assess elections against the relevant regional and international standards…”
Prof Karangwa observed that Rwanda had been working with the Commonwealth even before joining the bloc, and will be looking forward to engage more with the group as a full member.
“We talked about many things concerning elections, and our Electoral Commission is fully involved in the group’s processes----we have been invited for a conference on election in Ghana to take place between May19-21,”