#RwandaElections: EAC observers laud conduct during presidential campaigns
The mission leader of the East African Community election observer mission (EOM) in Rwanda, Moody Awori, has commended the people of Rwanda for conducting themselves with maturity in the ongoing presidential election campaigns.
Awori said this on Monday in Kigali during the official flagging off of the EAC observer mission ahead of the August 4 presidential election.
“This is one of the most peaceful campaigns I have ever seen and I trust that it continues that way and you will uphold dignity and peace even on the Election Day and thereafter,” said Awori, a former vice-president of Kenya.
“A transparent and peaceful election will be a plus not just for Rwanda but for the entire EAC region as well as the rest of Africa. It is important that we show the rest of Africa how campaigns are conducted. I am happy this has gone on well.”
Awori noted that the sovereign will of the people expressed through a democratic process is guarantee for peace, stability and economic growth.
Rwanda is a small country with big ideas, he noted, and its resilient recovery from a painful past is a remarkable lesson for Africa whose citizens yearn for peace and development.
“Your experience shows that with political commitment and sheer determination, there is no limit to humanity’s potential to achieve,” Awori said.
The regional bloc’s team of observers is drawn from the East African Legislative Assembly, national human rights commissions, electoral management bodies, civil society, EAC ‘youth ambassadors’, and staff of the EAC secretariat are observing the last few days of ongoing campaigns and later the Election Day on Friday.
The team has 45 people, a number Awori said “is more than sufficient.”
Those who have gone to the field are 30 observers. The remaining 15, including the mission leader, will be based at the Secretariat in Kigali.
EAC observer deployments
Besides Rwanda, EAC also planned for deployment of election observers in Kenya, which is scheduled to hold presidential elections on August 8. Members from South Sudan are taking part in the missions for the first time.
This is the first time the Community is engaging in two election observer missions at the same time in two partner states within a period of 10 days.
The bloc’s observer missions are headed by eminent persons.
They are to undertake the exercise in line with guidelines contained in the EAC principles on electoral observation and evaluation, which heralded the institutionalisation of election observation in partner states.
Missions in the two partner states are being undertaken in two phases; the long-term observer mission or pre-election mission (PEMi); and the short-term election observer mission.
The short-term election observer mission arrived in Rwanda last week and will depart on August 7.
The EAC observer missions to the two partner states are not only in response to the invitation by their national electoral management bodies to the Secretariat but are also a response to the decision of the EAC Council of Ministers on observation of elections in partner states.
Their mandate is to observe the overall electoral environment, pre-election activities, the polling day, and the counting and tallying of results.
The two missions are being undertaken pursuant to Article 3 of the EAC Treaty which requires adherence to universally acceptable principles of democratic governance and in line with the EAC Principles of Election Observation and Evaluation.
Rwandans go to polls on Friday to pick who of incumbent President Paul Kagame, of RPF-Inkotanyi; Frank Habineza, of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda; and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent, will lead the country for the next seven years.