AU observers predict peaceful elections tomorrow

Election observers pose for a group photo at Serena Hotel yesterday before departing to different polling sites. Over 603 election observers will monitor tomorrow's polls. Sam Ngendahimana.

Current condition sin the country suggest that tomorrow’s parliamentary elections will be peacefully conducted and will be free, democratic, and transparent.

The observation was made yesterday by the head of the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM), which is in Rwanda to monitor the elections.

Aichatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Niger, made the observation in Kigali while seeing off 30 members of the AU observation mission that she is leading.

The observers were deployed across the country and will be checking on whether the elections are freely conducted.

Mindaoudou’s team has spent almost a week in the country looking at how the parliamentary elections, which are slated from 2-4 September, are being prepared.

“All the conditions are met for the organisation of this election,” she told journalists yesterday in Kigali as AU observers boarded their vehicles to different parts of the country.

She said that given what she has seen so far, she can only predict that the elections will be peaceful.

“So far, so good; I didn’t notice anything that can lead us to think that the election wouldn’t be peaceful,” she said.

On Monday, some 7.1 million Rwandans are expected to elect 53 MPs who will take seats in the 80-member Lower House of Parliament and are chosen through universal suffrage.

It will be the country’s fourth such poll since the end of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Rwandans in the Diaspora will vote the 53 MPs earlier today, September 2, and the poll will be facilitated by the country’s embassies across the world.

Other members of the Lower House will be elected at different times by their electoral colleges, with one MP representing people living with disabilities getting elected today (September 2), while 24 MPs representing women and two MPs representing the youth will be elected on Tuesday September 4.

Officials at the National Electoral Commission (NEC) have announced that nearly 2,500 polling stations have been set up across the country for tomorrow’s general election and are expected to open for the poll at 7am and close at 3p.m to pave way for the tallying process.

More than 17,000 polling rooms will be used for the vote at the polling stations and about 75,000 electoral volunteers will be ready to facilitate the poll.

The volunteers are very critical for the success of the election because they help cut down its financial cost since they aren’t paid to do their work but get a small allowance to enable them do their work for the day.

This year’s parliamentary elections will be financially covered by the government at 98 per cent and are expected to cost Rwf5.4billion, NEC officials said.

The AU observation mission has a mandate to observe the 2-4 September 2018 parliamentary elections in line with relevant provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which entered into force on 15 February 2012.

The Charter is intended to enhance electoral processes in Africa, strengthen electoral institutions and the conduct of fair, free, and transparent elections.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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