The Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Rwanda, Ambassador Michel Arrion, has said that the EU Commission will support the country’s electoral process but will not send observers for the August presidential elections.
In a communication to The New Times yesterday, Ambassador Arrion said that the EU will not send observers mainly due to budgetary constraints and other priorities in Africa.
He revealed that he had already communicated to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Government about the decision.
“The EU Commission will send a team of 4 experts to provide assistance to the EU delegation and other EU Member states’ missions — and to the NEC if they need it — in order to strengthen their capacities to monitor the electoral process. But this is certainly not, technically speaking, an observation,” Arrion noted.
“We will also provide a few hundreds of thousand Euros for the training of domestic observers and of the national media,” Arrion added.
Efforts to speak to the chairman of NEC, Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa and the Executive Secretary Charles Munyaneza, were futile as they couldn’t pick up our calls.
Last week, the EU and Rwanda signed five financing agreements to the tune of Rwf 56.5 billion, half of which will be channelled through sector budget support.
The pact also contains a Rwf 4.1 billion program known as “Voice and Accountability”, some of whose beneficiaries include NEC as it aims at strengthening its capacity and independence to organise the 2010 and 2011 elections in line with regional and international standards.
In September 2008, following an invitation from the government, the European Commission (EC) sent an Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) to oversee elections as millions of Rwandans voted-in a new Parliament.