A team of 20 members of the Commonwealth Group observing Kenya’s August 9th General Election has arrived in Nairobi at the invitation of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC.
The team that will be deployed across the country to observe the whole process has been selected from across the Commonwealth at the request of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Issuing the Group’s arrival statement, the Chairperson of the Group, former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding urged stakeholders, including the electorate, to commit themselves to peace which is consistent with the Commonwealth’s values and principles.
“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,” said Golding.
In a press statement sent to newsroom, Golding said the Commonwealth’s presence in Kenya is an indication that it stands together with Kenyans as they exercise their democratic rights, and recognizes how important the elections are to the people of Kenya, East Africa, Africa, and the whole of the Commonwealth.
“As part of our work to support the election, an advance team has been on the ground since 16 July to observe preparations ahead of the polls and campaigns,” he stated.
Golding said the advance team will update the main Group about their meetings with stakeholders and their preliminary findings, which will be pivotal for the team’s work and subsequent observation role and report.
The Chairperson noted that after the update and the main team meeting all relevant stakeholders, they will be deployed in small teams to selected counties to observe electoral preparations including the opening of polling stations, voting, closing, counting and the results management processes.
After the assessment is carried out, the group will issue its interim statement of preliminary findings on 11 August.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal sovereign states with a combined population of 2.5 billion, of which more than 60 per cent is aged 29 or under.
The Commonwealth Secretariat supports member countries to build democratic and inclusive institutions, strengthen governance and promote justice and human rights, besides helping them to grow economies and boost trade, deliver national resilience, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt, and inequality.
By Bernadette Khaduli