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Kigali, Sunday, 8 August 2017: The COMESA Election Observer Mission to the August 2017 Rwanda Presidential elections has commended the people of that country and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for having held peaceful and transparent elections.

COMESA Observer Mission Leader Bishop Mary Nkosi described the election process as smooth and held in accordance with the constitutional and law of Rwanda.

“Our mission noted that the National Electoral Commission conducted its work efficiently and professionally in accordance with the constitution and national law which provided clear guidelines and measures for the NEC to implement its mandate,” Bishop Nkosi said in the preliminary statement.

COMESA had deployed a short-term Mission to observe the presidential elections in Rwanda held on 4th August 2017.

Prior to the deployment, the team received training in Kigali from the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).

The Mission Leader held several bilateral meetings with the Chairperson of the NEC, the Inspector General of Police, the Minister of Local Government, the Opposition and the media.

The COMESA observers made several recommendations to the NEC as part of measures to enhance the conduct of the electoral process in Rwanda. These include the need for the NEC to undertake continuous civic education to enable the electorates understand the electoral process in terms of required voting documentation and time allocated for voting. There is need to have adequate budgetary allocation to the NEC for civic education, the NEC was urged to consider incorporating information technology in transmission of results and to reconsider the issue of playing loud music while the voting process is going on in polling centers as it appeared disruptive and noisy.

The Mission comprised of observers from diplomatic missions accredited to COMESA and to Rwanda and officers from the COMESA Secretariat. Observers were deployed to four parts of Rwanda namely Kigali city, Eastern, Western and Southern provinces.

Bishop Nkosi is a member of the COMESA Committee of Elders from Malawi.