Rwanda: AU Delegation Jets in for Pre-Parliamentary Election Assessment

The AU delegation, led by Guy Cyrille Tapoko, Head Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (5th left), pose with Prof. Kalisa Mbanda, NEC Chairperson (6th left) and NEC Executive Secretary Charles Munyaneza (4th left) in Kigali.

A delegation from the African Union is in Rwanda to assess the country's preparedness for the upcoming parliamentary elections due in September this year.

During the five-day visit, the Mission will establish benchmarks in assessing the overall process and offer practical recommendations to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

The recommendations from the AU delegates, who arrived in the country yesterday, are expected to enhance inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability of the electoral process and ultimately contribute to Rwanda's democratisation process as well as good governance.

According to the Chairman of NEC, Prof. Kalisa Mbanda, the delegation's main vision is observe and give recommendations on what can be improved to have peaceful and transparent elections.

In addition, their recommendations will also serve for similar Missions in other countries.

"Political pluralism, women, youth, and persons with disability, women's political participation were the main things they looked at. They found us already in good terms with it," Mbanda said.

Prof Mbanda added that with one month and a week to the parliamentary elections, NEC is 90 per cent ready.

"What's remaining is just the final steps such as assessing and announcing the approved list of candidates, setting election sites and other related aspects," he said.

According to NEC, the deadline for receiving candidature lists is July 25, 2018.

A total of 80 new members of parliament will be voted during the September elections. 53 will be directly elected by all voters while the remaining 27 seats are reserved for special interest groups such as women, the youth and persons with disability. Out of the 27 seats reserved for special interest groups, 24 are female representatives, two are youth MPs while one is the representative for persons with disability.

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