By Organic Law, nº 001/2021 of 30/01/2021 Rwanda amends Organic Law n° 001/2019 governing elections, which determines modalities for the conduct of Presidential, legislative, local, National Councils, elections, and referendum.
The notable change introduced by the Law nº 001/2021 is that in case of force majeure that makes it impossible to conduct elections, the office-holder continues to carry out his or her duties until the end of the force majeure and that the Minister in charge shall announce the postponement of the elections.
The law nº 001/2021 adds to Article 122 the following:
“….if the term of office of elected persons in decentralized entities expires and there is a force majeure which makes impossible to conduct elections, the incumbent continues to carry out his or her duties until the end of the force majeure. An Order of the Minister in charge of local government after consultations with the National Electoral Commission, announces the postponement of the elections due to force majeure. An order of the Minister in charge of local government also announces the end of the force majeure.”
Rwanda is not the only country in Africa, that has introduced the force majeure provision, Last year due to the notable increase in violence, Burkina Faso adopted a new electoral code which provides that in the event of "force majeure or exceptional circumstances", preventing the organization of the polls in part of the territory, the elections will be validated based on the results of polling stations that have opened.
Therefore, only the results of the polling stations that have opened were taken into account which excluded voters living in areas affected by violence. The country’s government ruled it unsafe for registration to take place in 17.4 percent of its electoral communes. As a result, more than 400,000 people were unable to register to vote for the presidential election of 2020.