The Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Juma Mwapachu, Thursday said that the five-nation bloc has taken steps to guarantee credible elections in member countries. He said after his meeting with Defence Minister, Gen James Kabarebe, at the latter’s offices in Kimihurura.
In a subsequent interview, Mwapachu noted that elections around the region are generally credible “in terms of the foundations all five partner states have in place.”
“We have completed exercises to come up with modalities of proper election supervision and observation,” Mwapachu said.
“All the five partner states have got robust democratic systems – we have the institutions responsible for managing the elections – electoral commissions which are credible”.
He said the bloc will participate in the Burundi elections slated for later this month and will also participate, in terms of an observer mission, in Rwanda, during the August presidential elections.
“Even in Burundi where we hear all kinds of stories, everybody will tell you that the (grassroots) election there was credible and peaceful.”
According to Mwapachu, the recent Burundi elections had the biggest voter turnout as 90 percent of the registered voters participated.
“Anybody who is trying to say that there was theft of votes, and what not, is really not correct.”
Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania will hold their presidential elections this year. Uganda will also hold general elections early next year.
The EAC Secretary General arrived in Kigali on Wednesday evening to familiarize himself with Rwandan military facilities that have been put at the disposition of the regional bloc.
Mwapachu is accompanied by the five EAC Defence liaison officers. The facilities that Mwapachu is expected to visit include Gako Military Academy which is training EAC cadets.