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Commonwealth Observer Group calls for peaceful elections

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Group observing Kenya’s elections has called for everyone involved in the elections to follow the example of the contenders and commit to a peaceful process.

The team has arrived in Nairobi to observe the August 9 General Elections at the invitation of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC, and will be deployed across the country to observe the whole process.

The twenty-member Group, led by its new Chairperson the former Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding after the withdrawal of former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae due to unforeseen circumstances, has been selected from across the Commonwealth at the request of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

While issuing the Group’s arrival statement, Golding urged stakeholders, including the electorate, to commit to a peaceful election, consistent with the Commonwealth’s values and principles just as the politicians have made a commitment to be doing the same.

“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,” Golding reiterated.

“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, recognizing how important these elections are to the people of Kenya, East Africa, Africa, and the whole of the Commonwealth at large,” he added.

As part of its work to support the election, an advance team has been on the ground since July 16 to observe preparations ahead of the polls and campaigns.

According to the Chairperson, the team will now update the main Group about their meetings with stakeholders and their preliminary findings, which will be pivotal for the Group’s work and subsequent observation role and report.

“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,” said Golding.

After this assessment is carried out, he noted, the group will issue its interim statement of preliminary findings on August 11, 2022.

By Michael Omondi

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