4 August 2017

Rwanda: 2017 Elections - Observers Confident of 'Smooth Polls'

Photo: New Times
A voter shows his thumbs with ink after voting in a past election.

Observers of Friday's election have expressed confidence in national agencies to deliver credible results in presidential poll that opens 7am today.

Among the observers who expressed confidence in the capacity by Rwandan institutions include the African Union and Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa observer missions.

Speaking to The New Times, heads of the missions said they derive their confidence from interactions they have had with various agencies as well as other stakeholders, including the civil society.

The observers said that they had found the campaign process well planned out and incident free with all candidates having room to reach out to voters.

Bishop Mary Nkosi, the head of the COMESA Team, told that following their meetings and interactions with stakeholders, they were assured of local capacity to manage the process.

"We have been to various campaign meetings and held stakeholder meetings with local governments, police and NEC. We have assurance from the national police and the electoral commission that they are in position to handle the process. The campaigns were very peaceful and orderly," she said.

Former President of Mali Dioncounda Traore, who is leading the AU mission, said that during the pre-election process, they had found everything incident free and safe.

He lauded the cooperation between the various agencies during the election preparation period.

"The National Police have done more than just provide security, they facilitated in the delivery of electoral materials across the country in readiness for the election," Traore said.

He also said that there was adequate citizen involvement in the process.

Commenting on whether there has been attempts by the West to have any interference in the local electoral process, Traore said that the international community should let African countries exercise democracy without imposing anything on them.

He said that most African countries have come of age democratically and in some instances can extend a lesson to Western countries.

The COMESA and AU observer teams will release a joint preliminary report on the poll on Sunday.

"We will be looking out for opening time, how people are voting, order, closing time, and observe the counting," Nkosi said.

There are 2,000 observers.

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