By Elias Hakizimana.
Electoral observers from Rwanda Religious Leaders Forum have recommended the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to consider some issues that were observed to be impeding the election process including mainly the delay of voters and less attention to the rights of people with disabilities.
Bishop John Rucyahana, the chairperson of the Forum said the elections passed smoothly in general except some problems that were observed.
“In general, Rwanda’s legislative polls passed very well. One of the foreign observers approached me to ask whether Rwanda’s elections are forged and I told him the truth that our elections are perfect,” said Bishop Rucyahana who was also an observer.
Rucyahana mentioned that it was their second time to participate in Rwanda’s elections as observers since their forum inception on March 1, 2016.
The observed challenges have activated recommendations to NEC for improvement during next sessions of polls.
“We observed delays of voters which made some of them find doors closed at the polling stations. Citizens should have more mobilization messages to avoid such circumstances for the next time,” Rucyahana said.
He also said that foreign observers were few comparing to locals, an issue that NEC should also take into account.
Alexis Nkurunziza Floris, the Coordinator of Rwanda Religious Leaders Forum said that foreign observers did not care of asking how people with disabilities are treated and added that NEC should multiply efforts in civic education to the citizens and observers.
“It is paramount to have a harmonized civic education for all observers to avoid confusion in their responsibilities,” said Nkurunziza.
Sheikh Salim Hitimana, the Mufti of Rwanda said that the observation of Religious leaders was to foster their participation in national programmes.
“We should not miss out of all the national programmes that have importance on the general population such as elections,” said Hitimana.
Vincent Gasana, the father and the national secretariat of peace and justice commission was also the observer. He said that being observers of the polls means a lot in their worship responsibilities.
“This recalls our responsibility to see if leadership fits God and people. We encourage Christians and the general population to vote for people who also have these values,” He said.
Sheikh Sulaiman Mbarushimana, the advisor to the Mufti of Rwanda said that despite the challenges observed, the observers were not stopped to follow up on the polls everywhere they participated.
“We managed to reach out various polling stations in Nyarugenge, Rwezamenyo, Nyakabanda and more but no body stopped us. We freely entered and followed up on electoral process at all these places,” Mbarushimana said
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