By CAROLINE WAFULA firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Sunday, March 3 2013 at 21:41
Local and international observers will be keenly watching Kenya as it holds its first election under a new Constitution on Monday.Election observer groups from the United States, European Union, African Union, the East African Community and their local counterparts will be monitoring the election to determine its credibility.Most of the groups are set to give their preliminary findings on the process next week after the conclusion of voting.More comprehensive reports are expected after a few weeks.Other observer groups include COMESA, IGAD, the Commonwealth, and the Carter Centre.The groups established their missions in the country following an invitation from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the government.They have already posted their members to various parts of the country.Former Slovenia Prime Minister and a Member of the European Parliament, Mr Alojz Peterlee leads the European Union Election Observation Mission which has been in the country for the last three weeks.
The team’s assessment of the election is meant to offer an impartial assessment of the elections and their compliance with Kenya’s international and regional commitments with regard to elections, besides the Kenyan law.The mission is assessing all aspects of the electoral process: registration of candidates, training of election staff, voter education, campaign activities of candidates and political parties, coverage of the media, the preparations for polling, as well as the complaints and appeals process.It also assesses the electoral framework.On Monday, EU observers will visit polling stations to observe their opening times, voting and tallying processes.The EU group has categorically stated through its deputy Chief Observer Gillian McCormac that its assessment of the election is independent of any EU institution or member state.The Election Observation Group (ELOG), established as a local long-term and permanent national platform for civil society groups, faith-based organisations and other key stakeholders in promoting citizen participation in the elections, has set up a parallel vote tallying centre.ELOG whose Steering Committee chairperson is Mr Kennedy Masime, has posted specially trained observers to 1,800 polling stations across the country to monitor the voting and will have a team to independently verify official results.The EAC, COMESA and IGAD have a joint observer mission.
It is the second time the three groups are coming together to observe elections in a member country, the first being the 2011 elections in Uganda.On Tuesday, the joint teams will reconvene in Nairobi where an interim statement in which the mission’s preliminary findings and recommendations on the elections will be issued.The joint missions headed by Mr Abdulrahman Kinana will also seek to determine whether the final results of the electoral process as a whole reflect the wishes of the people of Kenya.The missions will also assess whether the elections meet the benchmarks set out in the 2002 Durban Declaration on the principles governing democratic elections in Africa and the EAC principles of election monitoring and observation.The African Union observation team launched its long-term mission on January 12 and has since been joined by 60 short-term observers posted throughout the country.Last week, the group led by Mr Joaquim Chissano, who is also the former Mozambique President said the campaigns were relatively peaceful.He called on leaders of political parties to appeal to their supporters to refrain from hate speech, acts of violence and conduct that could disrupt peaceful elections.The AU observation team is in conformity with the relevant provisions of the African Charter on democracy, elections and governance, which came into force on February 15 last year, and which is intended to enhance electoral processes in Africa.
Credibility and transparency
Dr Aisha Abdullahi, the AU commissioner for Political Affairs is assisting Mr Chissano to lead the team which comprises 60 high profile personalities and experts.The group has stated that its observations and recommendations will be based on the credibility, transparency, fairness and the effective organisation of the elections from which the mission will express its views.The Commonwealth observer mission is led by former Botswana president Festus Mogae who has praised reforms made to Kenya’s electoral commission, the Judiciary and the security agencies since 2008.Atlanta-based Carter Centre has been monitoring closely legal and political developments that could affect the election.It established a field office in Nairobi to guide these efforts and has posted 14 long-term observers across the country and 30 short term poll monitoring experts.Carter Centre election mission field representative, Stephane Mondon said they hope Monday’s election will reassure the Kenyan people that their efforts to reform political institutions can succeed.International observers are guided by the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was adopted at the United Nations in 2005 and has been endorsed by more than 40 election observation groups.
ELECTION OBSERVER GROUPS
Former Prime Minister of Slovenia and a Member of the European Parliament Mr Alojz Peterlee leads the European Union Election Observation Mission which comprises 65 observers from 26 of the 27 EU member states, as well as Norway and Switzerland.
Observers led by the Atlanta-based Carter Centre.It has established a field office in Nairobi to guide its efforts and has deployed 14 long-term and 30 short term observers across the country. Its Mission Field Representative is, Stephane Mondon.
The Common Wealth Observer Mission is led by former President of Botswana Mr Festus Mogae.International observers are guided by the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was adopted at the United Nations in 2005.
The African Union Election Observation Mission is led by Mr Joaquim Chissano, former President of the Republic of Mozambique.It comprises of 60 high profile personalities and experts drawn from the Pan-African Parliament, African Ambassadors to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Election Management Bodies and Civil Society Organizations from various African countries.
Election Observation Group (ELOG), a group comprising of local civil societies, faith-based organizations and other key stakeholders has deployed specially trained observers to 1,800 polling stations across the country. It has also set up a parallel national vote tallying centre. The chairperson is Mr Kennedy Masime.
The Joint East African Community (EAC)-Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)-Inter-Governmental Authority in Development (IGAD) Election Observer missions is a joint mission of observers from the three groups. The joint Missions headed by Mr Abdulrahman Kinana.