The East African Community (EAC) advance observer team has arrived in Kigali to pave way for a team of 27 that will monitor the upcoming presidential elections slated for August 4.
Briefing the advance party upon their arrival at his office yesterday, the President of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Prof. Kalisa Mbanda told them that his commission had invested time, hard work and commitment in the preparation of smooth and peaceful elections.
“This commission has been existent since the year 2000 and we have organized several elections, the last being the referendum in December 2015. As we speak, we have already recruited election volunteers and we are in the process of training them to work in the 2,340 polling centers and 16,691 polling stations,” he said.
Mbanda told the team that electoral materials will be available at polling centers between 20-31 July.
“As of now, some of the materials are available and others like printing of ballot papers are ongoing,” he said.
The EAC’s Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Political Federation; Charles Njoroge said that the team would be in Rwanda as part of their council’s mandate to make sure that elections are free and fair.
“It is mandatory for the summit as well as the council to make sure that the elections are free, fair and credible. The Rwanda team will be headed by former Vice President Woody Awori as the Chief of mission,” he said.
He said that though past experience from elections that they had observed had taught them that nothing can be predictable, the mood in Rwanda continues to be ‘conducive and sober’.
“The mood is normally based on how politicians conduct themselves. However, I have been in Rwanda for a previous election and I am now back and the mood is conducive and sober as compared to other countries where there has been violence during such periods. That is something that we usually take as one of the best practices where we tell voters that everyone has a right to cast a vote in a peaceful manner,” he said.
He reminded those in attendance that though the team will be releasing their interim report of August 6, they will be relaying information on their site in real time.
Approximately 6.8 million voters are expected cast their vote this August 3rd and 4th August. Of these, 3.7 million (54%) are women, 3.1M (46%) are male, 3.1 (45%) are youth whole 40.826 (0.6%) are members of the Diaspora.
The preliminary election results will be announced on the night of August 4 but the final result details will be delivered between August 9 and 19.Follow https://twitter.com/Africannash