Rwanda: NEC Appeals for Harmony Among Civil Society Observers
The New Times (Kigali)
5 September 2008
Posted to the web 5 September 2008
The National Electoral Commission President, Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa, has urged all civil society election observers to work in one platform which will make it easier for their accreditation.
He made the appeal Tuesday while meeting civil society election observers at the NEC Headquarters in Kimihurura.
The meeting aimed at clearing the air that one of the observers, LIPRODHOR, was not given accreditation by the NEC.
"We don't limit people who wish to observe elections. If you become many, it gives our commission more credibility," Karangwa told the observers.
He explained that the National Electoral Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with civil society observers to join together in order to be accredited.
According to Article No.6 of the MoU, any civil society wishing to observe elections will come under one umbrella with the rest.
"All members of the Rwandan Civil Society platform wishing to observe elections shall be accredited through the platform umbrella, without any exception." The article reads in part.
The delay to get accreditation was due to the fact that LIPRODHOR, after receiving separate financial support from donors, wanted to observe elections independently.
"This was not in line with what we agreed on in the MoU we signed. It is in violation of the agreement," Karangwa told the observers.
According to the president of the civil society observers' platform, Eugene Rwibasira, LIPRODHOR's request was not welcomed in the platform since the law directed joint observation during the elections.
LIPRODHOR President, Emmanuel Gahutu, admitted that his organization requested to observe elections as an independent organization after they were requested by the external donors.
"Most of our financial resources come from International partners. They had earlier requested us to work independently but there is no reason we can violate the agreement signed between NEC and the platform," he said.
Being part of the donors, many questions were mostly raised from the international organisations like the Human Rights Watch asking why LIPRODHOR was not given permission to observe the elections independently.
A similar complaint was raised by Parliamentarians from the Dutch Parliament. Holland is among the key partners of LIPRODHOR.
The civil society observers' platform is made up of 15 umbrellas that make up to seven hundred and three organizations.
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