The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group for Rwanda’s Presidential elections, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, has revealed that, his entourage is committed to promoting and upholding core Commonwealth principles.
Salim, who is also a former Tanzanian Prime Minister, said this yesterday while addressing local and international journalists in Kigali.
“Democracy, human rights and good governance are core Commonwealth principles and ones that our observer group is committed to promote and uphold,” said Dr Salim, who is also a former Secretary General of the OAU, which has since changed to the African Union.
He said that the elections are critically vital for the people of Rwanda as they elect their President, adding that it is therefore imperative that the electoral process is transparent, fair and credible.
Dr. Salim stressed that, prior to Election Day, his team will be divided and deployed to various provinces around the country to observe voting, counting and results processing, after which they will issue an interim statement after the election and a final report at a later stage.
“In conducting our duties and undertaking our assessment, we will be impartial, objective and independent; the observers are present here in their individual capacities as eminent Commonwealth citizens,” he told journalists.
“We are here to support the democratisation of the country, we are humble enough not to over exaggerate our role, but we are sensitive enough to know that our role has a meaning, otherwise the electoral body would not have invited us and the Commonwealth Secretary General wouldn’t have asked us to come here.”
He underscored that, the assessment by the group will be independent and if they offer criticism it will be constructive, with the intent to help further strengthen the democratic process in the country.
The Commonwealth observer group is comprised of 13 eminent persons who include diplomats, heads of electoral commissions, lawyers and media experts from Commonwealth member states.