A team of the African Union pre-election assessment mission, which is in the country to review the state of preparedness for the September parliamentary elections yesterday met the Justice Minister.
Led by the AU Head of Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit, Guy Cyrille Tapoko, they met Johnston Busingye, who briefed them about the process in the lead up to and after elections.
Busingye told the AU delegation that the country relies on the constitution as its foundation of legal framework on elections and electoral process.
“It (the constitution) provides that all Rwandans, both men and women, fulfilling the requirements provided for by the law, have the right to vote and to be voted,” he said.
Busingye also explained that his ministry works hand in hand with the electoral commission, the political party forum, civil society and other institutions to make sure that free, fair and safe elections are delivered.
“What I can tell you is that we assist in various ways and, among them, is basically to remain ready to support the process in providing legal advice. We are on standby in case there is a dispute and someone takes the Government to court so that we come in to intervene since we represent it,” he said.
Busingye also pointed out that, compared to the olden days, a lot was being done on media platforms these days and it is one of the tools that his team relies on to provide this assistance on short notice.
Busingye credited the country for its willingness to listen, observe and learn, something he said was a continuous process for a country that was eager to become even better.
Tapoko explained that his team’s mission was to examine the overall context within which the elections will be held to ensure that the country’s democracy is nurtured and consolidated within the AU’s charter on democracy, elections and governance.
“The team is not here to teach but to learn about the electoral system in Rwanda. AU’s mandate is to make sure that we have peace on the continent yet 80 per cent of the conflicts on our continent are a result of disputed elections. We are here to get an overview of the pre; during and after electoral process,” he said.
While in Rwanda, the team will hold consultations with a diverse range of stakeholders, including government officials, political parties, civil society organisations and religious leaders among others.