After four months of procrastinating on its observers findings on the legislative elections’ held last September, the European Union has given its’ final verdict.
As we expected taking a cue from sentiments in the preliminary report, released soon after the elections, the general assessment of the just released 48 page report is that the election conduct was ‘positive’.
It should be noted from the onset that life in Rwanda did not stop because the EU had not made its verdict on the ‘credibility’ of the elections, held last year.
Life had moved on to a point that when journalists from this paper were invited to a press conference, to hear the much vaunted EU’s verdict, we wondered what report this was.
Other news has since dominated our headlines. Notwithstanding, that many of the other international organizations had already declared their positions on the elections packed their bags and carried on with other diplomatic missions.
It turns out MEP Michael Cashman, the head of the EU Election Observation Mission, had jetted into Rwanda to carry out the usual routine, of announcing his organisations ‘verdict’ towards the conduct of the elections. Cashman rightly points out that the second elections held after the horrific Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, were better than the 2003 elections, and that Rwanda had met many of the international benchmarks in the conduct of these elections. There is nothing earth-shaking here as all this is common knowledge.
What is worth noting beyond the EU’s glorious proclamations of Rwanda’s strides towards democratisation is that, it has taken a keen national leadership, with a vision to construct a future that breaks from a dark past of divisionism and marginalisation.
The EU can never accept what is good without finding fault, so the report in some instances is ridden with curious contradictions.
On the one hand it praises a certain institutional development and then in later pages, it attacks the same progress as not being adequate by ‘international standards’.
It is in this regard that while the September elections, were eventful in consolidating the gains made by the country since the 2003 elections, they went further to elect the highest number of women in parliament in the world.
Rwandans have not waited to be spoon fed on what constitutes democracy or democratic processes, they have defined a path based on their internal needs to fulfil their leaderships vision of a better life for all Rwandans.