KARONGI/RUSIZI — Rwandans should embrace the culture of regular free and fair elections in order to achieve sustainable democracy, the President of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has said.
He was at the weekend addressing leaders of various districts in the province at ceremonies to thank leaders for ensuring high voter out in last month’s parliamentary elections. The Western Province registered 98.99 percent voter turn out in the September polls.
“Free and fair election is a core foundation of the country’s long lasting democracy. If we can conduct it in this atmosphere everything can be possible,” Professor Chrysologue Karangwa told Karongi and Rutsiro district authorities.
Karangwa likened the ceremony of meeting after elections to a wedding ceremony where organisers meet and review how the ceremony was conducted.
“In the wedding culture of Rwandans, there is always a time to sit and appreciate the good things done and correct the wrong ones for improvement. This is similar to our visit today,” he said.
He commended all stakeholders for the collaboration shown during the elections calling upon them to maintain the same spirit in the next elections.
“You should stick on the democratic principles you showed in voting MPs. This will simplify the 2010 presidential elections,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the area Governor, the Karongi Mayor Bernard Kayumba, attributed the successful exercise to the cooperation of area residents.
“This successful event is as a result of the people of Western Province who showed that they knew what they were doing,” he said.
Kayumba pointed out that the elections left nothing hidden to election observers who watched the exercise.
“Most of these observers thought our elections would be similar to those in Zimbabwe. They toured various police stations and hospitals to see whether there were victims of chaotic campaign but we hope they went back with a clear lesson about democracy in Rwanda,” he said.
During the ceremony, Prof. Karangwa presented a trophy of appreciation and other cultural hand crafts to Karongi District Mayor.
Meanwhile, at Peace Guest House in Kamembe, Rusizi district, Karangwa also commended all leaders of Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts for conducting successful elections.
“In the name of my fellow colleagues who are here at this ceremony and NEC in general I highly thank you as leaders….for working with us to ensure successful Parliamentary elections last month. This really shows that you played your roles in as far as elections were concerned,” he told leaders of the two districts on Saturday.
Calling for team work among leaders and political parties, Karangwa observed that there was great improvement in the way recent elections were conducted compared to past elections.
On other government programmes, the NEC boss observed that leaders should have uniform understanding of programmes in order to ensure their implementation.
At the function, NEC volunteers on democracy and good governance from the two districts gave an award to NEC officials as a sign of appreciation for effectively and efficiently organising the elections.
The function was attended by among others Jean Pierre Turatsinze, Rusizi Mayor, and Nyamasheke vice Mayor for Social Affairs, Catherine Gatete and all area Sector Executive Secretaries.