The electoral observation mission of parliaments of the member countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) yesterday declared that the just-concluded elections were free, fair and reflected the will of the people.
The mission was presenting its draft report on the parliamentary elections that ended yesterday.
Kakoba Onyango, the head of mission and the deputy chairperson of the executive committee, said the elections were held in an orderly, secure and transparent environment.
Onyango, from Uganda, commended the voter turn-up, especially for Monday’s poll for the 53 openly-contested seats. He said the process was conducted according to the constitution and electoral framework and in compliance with the principles of the ICGLR protocol relating to democracy.
Onyango said there was a conducive environment that facilitated the citizens to participate in the electoral process without inter- and intra-party fights as “common in most African countries.”
AU commends women
The electoral observation team, dispatched by the African Union, commended the participation of women in the country’s civic sphere, saying their visibility did not stop at rallies.
“In all polling stations visited, remarkable attempt was made to satisfy gender balance in composition of NEC officials,” reads a statement released by the mission led by Zimbabwe’s Justice Rita Makarau.
NEC is the National Electoral Commission.
The observers said they noted lack of representation at polling centres by some political parties and independent candidates.
“In all polling stations visited, the team observed the presence of security personnel and was satisfied with their role in maintaining order within the polling centres,” the statement says.
Preliminary results released by NEC shows that the coalition of parties led by Rwanda Patriotic Front won the polls by 76 per cent, about two percentage points shy of their performance in 2008.
The preliminary final results are expected to be announced today, after tallying the votes from the electoral colleges.
Meanwhile, Prosper Higiro, the ICGLR secretary-general, said they intend to conduct a research on electoral process within member countries to ascertain the challenges and then convene a conference of parliamentarians to debate on possible solutions.
The ICGLR observation mission was composed of members from Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Rwanda. Other member countries could not send their representatives due to financial constraints.
The ICGLR members are Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, DR Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, S. Sudan and Zambia.