A total of 1,120 observers have so far been registered ahead of the August 4 presidential elections, the president of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Prof. Kalisa Mbanda, said yesterday.
Mbanda said this at the NEC headquarters in Kimihurura while receiving an advance team that is here to pave way for 27 East African Community (EAC) observers that will monitor the upcoming presidential elections.
Mbanda said that his Commission had invested time, hard work and commitment in preparation for a smooth and peaceful poll.
“This Commission has been existent since the year 2000 and we have organised several elections, the last being the ( constitutional) referendum in December 2015. As we speak, we have already recruited election volunteers and are in the process of training them to work in the 2,340 polling centres and 16,691 polling stations,” he said.
Mbanda told the EAC team that poll materials will be available at polling centres between July 20-31.
“As of now, some of the materials are available while printing of ballot papers is ongoing,” he said.
The EAC’s Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Political Federation, Charles Njoroge, said that the delegation would be in Rwanda as part of their mandate to make sure that elections are free and fair.
“It is mandatory for the Summit (EAC Heads of state) as well as the Council (of Ministers) to make sure that the elections are free, fair and credible. The Rwanda team will be headed by former ( Kenya) Vice President Moody 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 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 on August 6, they will be relaying information on their site in real time.
Over 6.8 million voters are expected cast their vote on August 3 (Diaspora) and August 4. The preliminary election results will be announced on the night of August 4 but the final results will be published between August 9-19.