3 August 2017

Rwanda: Police Reassure of Security During Elections

Photo: New Times
President Paul Kagame's final rally that attracted over 500,000 people, making it the largest gathering of Rwandans in modern history.

The Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, yesterday received a team of African Union observers currently in the country for the presidential election.

The IGP briefed the delegation, led by the former Interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traore, on the security situation in the country and reassured them of "peaceful, safe, and smooth elections."

Gasana underscored that the police established a security campaign plan for the entire electoral period - before, during, and shortly after the elections.

He informed the observers that the campaign period has been incident-free and reassured them that the elections will be conducted in a secure environment.

"We drew a comprehensive security plan at the national level to ensure that the whole process is not disrupted," Gasana said.

The IGP informed the delegation that the mission of the Police during the election is to secure polling centres and to provide escort of electoral materials as well as security to officials of the electoral commission, election observers, and the general public.

"We have secured all campaign venues, ensured security of candidates and their entourage, and safety on roads as part of the Force's overall mission," Gasana said, adding that ensuring security is a collaborative effort with other security entities, and the public.

Traore, on his part, said the AU observer mission in Rwanda is a duty that is informed by African solidarity.

He acknowledged that the prevailing security situation was satisfactory, pointing out that Rwanda offers a great example to other African countries in terms of election preparedness.

"We know, and the world knows, that Rwanda is safe; Africa has a lot to learn from Rwanda. We all know Rwanda's past and where you are today," he said.

Traore urged other African countries to "emulate this model of preparing and conducting elections," which is "proof that Africa can do things on its own."

Election Day

In a past interview, Police Spokesperson Theos Badege commended the conduct of supporters of the three presidential candidates in the campaigns, saying that they had recorded no disturbances and urged them to keep up the spirit even during the election and in the post-election period.

"It is important that everyone ensures their individual safety. If your candidate wins, celebrate responsibly," he said.

Over 6.8 million registered voters are expected to cast their vote in elections that will cost Rwf6.2 billion. Of these, 54 per cent are female.

The number of voters has increased from 5.1 million in the last presidential election in 2010, implying nearly 1.7 million new voters, mainly youths.

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