By LUKE ANAMI
Retired Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete will head the East African Community (EAC) election observation mission to Kenya.
The mission of 52 observers drawn from key governance and independent institutions and civil society organisations across the seven-member EAC bloc except Kenya is expected to be in the country from August 1st to 12th. Kenyans will vote in the general elections on August 9.
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.