THE Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) that arrived in the country Monday ahead of the forthcoming Presidential elections, yesterday met leaders of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) with whom they discussed preparations of the August 9, polls.
Headed by Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Tanzania Prime Minister, the group of 13-prominent persons includes diplomats, heads of electoral commissions, lawyers and media experts from various Commonwealth member states met NEC Chairman, Chryislogue Karangwa and the Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza.
Munyaneza told the observers that preparations for the country’s first elections since Rwanda joined Commonwealth club, started last year and are currently in their final stages.
Among the activities that have so far been implemented in line with the electoral calendar, Munyaneza said, include the drafting the Electoral Law which brings together various electoral laws that the country had been using for the Presidential, Parliamentary, Local Government and women elections.
Others, he said include updating voters register which ended July 23, carrying out countrywide civic education and procuring of all necessary electoral materials.
He said that 54 percent of 5,178,492 registered voters were female while 62 % are the youth.
65,000 voluntary election staff were recruited, and have been trained and posted in various polling stations countrywide and that all the necessary funds to run the elections (Rwf 8.5bn) were duly availed.
He said that 1,396 election observers, both international and local have so far been accredited.
Provisional and final results, he said will be released between August 11 and 17 respectively.
“We are now done with the printing of ballot papers using our (NEC) printer,” Munyaneza said.
“We are on course and so far all things are moving smoothly,” Karangwa told the group.
Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, the head of the group commended NEC which he termed a ‘unique commission.’
“I want to express the importance, the uniqueness of the electoral commission for its independence,” Salim said. The group which is in the country for two weeks came at the invitation of the electoral body.