- STATEMENT ON THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
In the context of its mandate, and through its Civil Society Elections Observation Mission (CSEOM), Rwanda Civil Society Platform (RCSP) has recently monitored elections on the constitutional referendum of December 18, 2015; and has now deployed 515 observers in order to monitor elections of Local Goverment leaders from Village to district and the Kigali City levels from Monday, February 8th, to March 4th, 2016. RCSP obesrvers are present in all sectors throughout the country.
Following are the key observations by RCSP teams right from the first day of elections:
Apart from some fiew villages, elections started on time, with high turn up of voters and the closure was on time as provided for by the instructions from National Electoral Commission (NEC);
Elections’ sites were properly identified and located to provide conductive enviromnent for elections, and elections are being conducted in a calm secure atmosphere, in free and fair proceedings;
The NEC is supportive and its staff carrying out their duties in a professional manner. Media freedom is ensured for all, so far there is no incident of interference with media;
Civil society observers are facilitated to carry on their activities as observers, recieving approriate accreditations and observing elections on sites without any violence;
All required electoral materials are availed and this shows proper and timely preparations of elections by the National Electoral Commission;
However, owing to the fact that elections are smoothly running in democratic conditions; some of the emerging issues that are worth bringing to the attention of the public include;
• Delays and re-counting of votes due to the voting method used; queing behind the candidate has in many places caused jostlings, disorder and confusions, thus leading to recounting the votes many times, or to confusions;
• A NEC staff was a candidate for a position of youth concils and had to combine the roles as a NEC volunteer wearing the NEC T-shirt, and a candidate for elections. This happened in (Rubavu District, Mudende sector, Ndoranyi cell in Nyabishongo village);
• In Kayonza District, Kabarondo sector , Kinzovu cell in Kinzovu village students were allowed to vote. Later on, they were denied to vote by citizens as candidates complained that they would be in favour of certain candidates, and thus distort the elections’ outcomes;
• In Nyamasheke District, Nyamugali cell, the executive secretary of that cell influenced and tried to force citizens to vote for existing leaders as candidates against their will. After a while in hitted discussions in, the citizens were allowed to vote for their favored candidates.
The CSEOM is composed of 12 members of the Core Team at national level, 30 Long Term Observers (LTOs) at district level and 515 Short Term Observers (STOs) in districts.
RCSP finds that the elections of local Goverment Authorities are well prepared, and are hapening in a free and fair environment. The Civil Socciet Electoral Observation Mission will continue to monitor the Local Government electoral process until the end in early March, and overall preliminary findings will be shared by then.
Done at Kigali, on 10/02/2016 by the Civil Society Electoral Observation Mission (CSEOM)
Signed by Munyamaliza Edouard, Chief Observer.