African Union election observers are expected to commence their activities in the country today ahead of Friday’s presidential election.
The deployment by AU Commission Chairperson Faki Mahamat follows an invitation by the Government to observe the elections.
The team will be led by the former President of the Transition Government of Mali, Dioncounda Traore, who is scheduled to arrive in the country today.
The elections observatory team was preceded by a team of 34 short-term observers drawn from 23 African countries.
The team was comprised of Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC), the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
The short-term mission is mostly keen on the final phase of the campaigns and Election Day proceedings.
The deployment of the election observation mission to Rwanda is in line with the AU’s mandate of promoting democratic elections on the continent, enshrined in the 2007 African Charter on democracy, elections and governance.
According to a statement by the African Union, the assessment of the observers’ mission will be guided by international instruments guiding international election observation and the legal framework for elections of Rwanda.
Other regional bodies who have deployed observatory teams to Rwanda include Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa, and the East African Community.
In a recent interview with The New Times, the National Electoral Commission executive secretary, Charles Munyaneza, said the accreditation process for election observers closes on August 4 [tomorrow], a day before voters in the country go to the polls.
Rwandans go to polls on Friday to pick who of incumbent President Paul Kagame, of RPF-Inkotanyi; Frank Habineza, of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda; and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent, will lead the country for the next seven years.