Posted by: editor Posted date: September 19, 2013
·Some accredited observers were denied entry by NEC
·Consolidation &counting centers were out of reach-against to the law
Kigali, Rwanda- the Rwanda Civil Society Elections Observation Mission (CSEOM) has released a primary report on Parliamentary election. The report mention some of the disturbing irregularities starting from the campaigns and poling day.
Civil society was the biggest of electoral observation missions, whether local or regional. Observation mission was able to cover 403 Sectors. In total, the CSEOM deployed 598 observers throughout Rwanda to observe and assess the electoral process in accordance with international standards for elections.
Lack of transparency
The report says, “The process in theory was transparent but in some cases consolidation at poling centres and at the district level lacked in transparency rendering the provisions of Article 17 of Electoral Law and articles 127 and 128 of the Electoral Commission Instructions not respected in entirety.”
Article 17 gives powers the observers to access the consolidation centres and poling agents announcing results at the same consolidation centres. Which Eugene Rwibasira, the chief observer said was not respected. Some of the cases were also highlighted like; media coverage, equal access to the media, campaigns and civil servants.
“Public media outlets offered equal space and opportunities to all candidates. However, the private media is not subject to any legal limits on accepting political advertising, hence the ruling party has been able to dominate the private media, while PSD, PL and PPC had lesser visibility.”
Observers denied access
Despite possession of accreditation cards and letters from NEC, some CSEOM observers were either denied entry in polling rooms or observing vote counting and consolidation. Rwibasira said that the important place that requires observation is at the counting and consolidation centres.
Loophole of the law
The Rwanda Electoral law is silent on the conduct of the public Civil Servants during the campaign period. Which Rwibasira said that it is a serious concern.
“Some of Civil Servants appeared at rallies in political party outfits and in some cases, public offices remained closed because of the campaigns.” The report says
The law requires an independent candidate to have at least 5% for his seat in the parliament which is the same number required for the political parties with a list of eighty candidates. Chief observer, Rwibasira said it is a big challenge and civil society will continue to do advocacy until the law is changed again.
There were 2,291 polling centers and 15,500 polling stations throughout the country. Of these, the CSEOM Observers were able to cover 598 Polling Stations and 700Polling rooms on the Election Day for the direct voting in 403 Sectors to observe voting and counting in all elections for the general women, youth, and for those people with disabilities.