29 September 2017

Rwanda: Political Parties Commend NEC for Presidential Polls

Photo: Timothy Kisambira/New Times
A polling agent tallies votes during the recent presidential elections in Remera, Gasabo District.

The National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations (NFPO) has commended the National Electoral Commission for giving equal opportunity to all candidates in the August 4 presidential elections.

This is contained in a report presented to the forum by a team of observers tasked to follow up on the electoral process, from the beginning to the end.

The report was presented during their general assembly held at the NFPO offices in Kacyiru, on Thursday.

The forum, which deployed 100 observers, during the elections, hailed the electoral process to have been conducted in a secure, transparent manner involving political parties without any form of discrimination.

Of all the 11 political organisations that subscribe to NFPO, nine backed Paul Kagame, the candidate for RPF Inkotanyi - who eventually won the poll - while Green Party fielded Frank Habineza as their candidate.

The other party, PS Imberakuri, did not back any candidate.

The forum's spokesperson, MP Clotilde Mukakarangwa, of the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), said that the deployment of observers was part of their mandate, adding that they were satisfied with the conduct of the process.

"First of all, we congratulate President Paul Kagame for the victory and, as per our findings, the results are accurate and reflect the will of the Rwandan people," she said.

The team of 100 observers was drawn from all political organisations under the forum and a team of three was sent to each of the 30 districts of the country to monitor the process.

However, the forum's report called for thorough preparations for future elections to ensure all voters are registered and verified before polling, as some discrepancies on voters' lists were witnessed on the election day.

Preparations for elections should not be left to the national electoral commission, the report said, but it should be a joint and coordinated effort from different stakeholders.

"Among the key things observed is the timeliness at the polling stations, the high turnout of voters and the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed throughout the entire process," Mukakarangwa said.

Observers praised generally the manner in which the process was prepared, especially with regards to equal consideration of all candidates with regards to site facilitation.

They also commended the equal opportunity granted to the candidates by the media.

Besides President Kagame, the other candidates were Green Party's Frank Habineza and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent.

According to the report, citizens were well sensitised on electoral process and participation because nearly all voters finished casting their vote earlier than the scheduled end time.

"Voters cast their vote in a free and transparent atmosphere and laws governing elections and the guidelines of the National Electoral Commission were respected," said Musa Fazil Harelimana, of Ideal Democratic Party (PDI).

Meanwhile, during the same general assembly, the forum elected new leaders for a six-month term.

Pio Nizeyimana, of the Democratic Union of the Rwandese People (UDPR), was elected as the new spokesperson, replacing Mukakarangwa.

Solange Uwingabe of Rwandan Socialist Party (PSR) was elected as deputy spokesperson.

The forum is made up of 11 parties that include; Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi), Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), the Rwandan Socialist Party (PSR), the Ideal Democratic Party (PDI), and the Democratic Popular Union (UPDR).

Others are Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Party (PL), the Party for Progressive and Concord (PPC), Prosperity and Solidarity Party (PSP), the Social Party Imberakuri (PS-Imberakuri), and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR).


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