Retired Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete will head the East African Community (EAC) election observation mission in Kenya in the upcoming general elections.
The mission comprises of 52 observers drawn from key governance and independent institutions and civil society organizations across the seven-member EAC bloc except Kenya and is expected to be in the country from 1st August to 12th.
Speaking during the launch held on Monday at a Nairobi hotel, Mr Kikwete said the mission would assess the level of preparedness of key electoral stakeholders in Kenya.
“We are here to assess the level of preparedness of the key electoral stakeholders for this election. We are also looking at the level of compliance of the electoral processes and management and how they meet international, regional and national standards including established laws, principles and practices,” said Mr Kikwete.
“Our mission will interact with a number of key stakeholders in pursuit of peaceful elections. Among these will be IEBC, political parties, candidates, the judiciary, security organs, media and civil society.”
The mission will build on the outcomes of the Joint African Union/EAC/IGAD/COMESA pre-election assessment conducted over the last one month.
The EAC will then announce the findings of the mission through an interim statement on August 11.
“We are committed to offer objective recommendations for continuous improvement for the conduct of this general election,” said Mr Kikwete.
The EAC Secretary-General, Dr Peter Mathuki, in remarks read on his behalf by the EAC Principal Political Affairs Officer, David Onen said that the bloc’s mandate to observe elections in the partner states is governed by the Treaty and the EAC Principles for the Observation and Evaluation of Elections.
“As a region, we have a conviction that regional observation is critical to enhancing the credibility of the elections, reinforcing the work of domestic observer groups and enhancing public confidence in the entire electoral process,” he said.
Similarly, Former Botswana President Festus Mogae will lead a team of election observers from the Commonwealth for the Kenyan polls scheduled for August 9.
Mogae will lead a team of 20 poll observers known as the Commonwealth Observer Group, it represents the ‘Club’ of the UK and its former colonies, as well as Mozambique, Rwanda, Togo and Gabon; who have since joined the Commonwealth.
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has also appointed Dr Mulatu Teshome, Ethiopia’s former president, to lead its observer mission in the forthcoming Kenyan general election.
Dr Mulatu will lead the team that is yet to be deployed to Nairobi at the invitation of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Igad, a regional trade bloc comprising eight countries including Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan, said it takes the invitation as an “honor to support the advance of Kenya’s democratization process.”