Election observers from the Forum of Parliaments of Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR) say results from the just-concluded legislative elections reflect the will of the people.
This was stressed Wednesday when the FP-ICGLR observers’ head of delegation, David Yama, issued his team’s final assessment of the elections at a news conference in Kigali.
Yama is a Member of Parliament in the Central African Republic (CAR).
He said: “The Mission noted the orderly manner in which the elections were conducted, from the presiding officers taking their oath before polling began to the close of polls and the commencement of counting and tallying of the votes. It is important to point out that the mission noted quite a number of young people coming out to vote, especially in Kigali City.”
The elderly and people with disabilities, he said, were assisted by the volunteers and National Electoral Commission (NEC) staff at polling stations.
Yama said the mission did not witness any incidents of voter intimidation or undue influence.
“Therefore, the Mission of Observation of the FP-ICGLR hereby declares that the electoral process as organised by the National Electoral Commission in concert with other stakeholders in the Republic of Rwanda was peaceful, transparent, free and fair. The Mission further states that the results will undoubtedly reflect the will of people expressed at the polling stations.”
The FP-ICGLR is composed of Angola, Burundi, CAR, the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
It provides a framework for inter-parliamentary dialogue to promote, maintain and strengthen peace and security in the Great Lakes Region in accordance with the will expressed by the Heads of State and Government in the Dar Es Salaam Declaration of November 2004 and subsequently in the Pact on Peace, Stability and Development signed in Nairobi in December 2006.
The forum aims to promote democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, organisation of free, fair and transparent elections and good governance within ICGLR Member States.
The FP-ICGLR election observer team arrived in Rwanda on August 27.
The FP-ICGLR mission observed the conduct of elections and the pre-election period, to see if the elections complied with the principles as contained in the ICGLR Protocol relating to democracy and good governance.
Yama said they visited polling stations across the country and on September 4 deployed teams to various areas in Kigali to observe elections.
The mission noted “with satisfaction” the role played by all stakeholders including NEC, political organisations, civil society organisations, faith based organisations, local administration and Police to maintain order, transparency, peace and citizens’ participation during the polling days.