The newly appointed Chairperson of the Commonwealth Group observing elections in Kenya has called for a peaceful process as polling day draws near.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, has withdrawn from his role as leader of the Group and has been replaced by former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding.
The Commonwealth Observer Group arrived this week in Nairobi to observe the 9 August General Elections at the invitation of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, and will be deployed across the country to observe the whole process.
The twenty-member Group has been selected from across the Commonwealth at the request of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“Just as politicians have made a commitment to a peaceful election, we urge stakeholders, including the electorate, to commit to doing the same, consistent with the Commonwealth’s values and principles,” said Golding.
“We know how important elections are in a democracy; they empower the people to choose representatives who will, in turn, make decisions on their behalf.
“We, therefore, hope our presence in Kenya serves as a reminder that the people of the Commonwealth stand together with Kenyans as they exercise their democratic rights, recognising how important these elections are to the people of Kenya, East Africa, Africa, and the whole of the Commonwealth at large.”
An advance team has been on the ground since 16 July to observe preparations ahead of the polls and campaigns. They will now update the main Group about meetings with stakeholders and preliminary findings.
After the main Group has been updated by the advance team and met all relevant stakeholders, they will be deployed in small teams to selected counties to observe electoral preparations including the opening of polls, voting, closing, counting and the results management processes.
After this assessment is carried out, the Group will issue its interim statement of preliminary findings on 11 August.
Learn more: The Commonwealth Secretariat