The U.S. on Saturday congratulated the people of Rwanda on their active and peaceful participation in Friday’s presidential election but expressed concerns about what it termed “irregularities” at the poll.
Heather Nauert, the Department of State Spokesperson, in a statement said: “We are disturbed by irregularities observed during voting and reiterate long-standing concerns over the integrity of the vote-tabulation process.
“We commend the Rwandan media for reporting on complaints of harassment of some opposition candidates and Rwandan citizens during the campaign.
“We likewise commend average citizens, the National Electoral Commission, and government officials for speaking out and addressing those complaints.”
The U.S. applauded the televised debate, while noting that voters’ understanding would have benefited from broader participation of the candidates themselves.
“We remain concerned by the lack of transparency in determining the eligibility of prospective candidates.
“We hope the new electoral law to be debated in the next session of Parliament will clarify that process well before the 2018 parliamentary elections.
“The United States stands by the people of Rwanda in their efforts to build strong democratic and inclusive institutions in order to ensure long-term stability and a democratic, prosperous future for all,” the statement read.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame won a third term in office in the election, garnering about 98 per cent of votes cast.