Chair of the joint AU- COMESA Election Observer Mission to Kenya, HE Ernest Bai Koroma, on Sunday embarked on a back to back consultations with the leading candidates and a host of other elections stakeholders in Kenya. He started off by chairing a very impactful meeting of the eleven international elections observer missions and Kenya’s main opposition leader the Rt Hon. Raila Odinga. Mr Odinga was accompanied by his deputy Hon. Martha Karua & senior officials. Former President Koroma acknowledged the centrality of Mr Ordinga to the whole electoral process, including the much anticipated peaceful transition. He also underscored the importance a peaceful and stable Kenya to the peace and stability of the East African region and to the rest of Africa.
“The fact that over ten international observer missions comprising four former Africa heads of states and several former prime ministers are in the country, is a strong indication of the importance Africa and the international community attached to Kenya,” said President Koroma.
The various heads of missions seized the moment to seek clarifications on issues the main opposition feels strongly about.
The Ordinga’s delegation responded with a recollection of the challenges they experienced with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the courts since 2002 through to 2017 as reasons underpinning their misgivings. They stated that they were unclear about the technology being deployed and that announcement of false results would be unacceptable, much the same way as any attempt to hijack or unduly delay the transmission of results. They also raised concerns about the security of their agents at polling centers and urged the security agents to treat their agents well . Mr Odinga further registered dissatisfaction with the responsiveness of the IEBC and emphasized on the need for more inclusiveness and transparency regarding its activities.
“The process must be inclusive and transparent,” said the main opposition leader. His running mate, Martha Karua asserted that: “we do not think that there is any reason to delay the announcement of results. Never have the results been delayed beyond the second or at the maximum, the third day,” she stated. She also suggested that the IEBC be impressed upon to endeavour to release the results within record time. “It’s the right and proper thing to do rather than subject the nation to anxiety,” Karua emphasized.
The heads of the international elections observer missions commended Mr Odinga and his party for their commitment to peace and urged all actors to sustain transparency and inclusiveness in the electoral process.
Former President Koroma also had a crucial interaction with the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Kenya, along with several leading local civil society organisation (CSOs). The CSOs include the Interreligious Council and Women mediation groups. This meeting was convened by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Horn of Africa, Hannah Tete. The SRSG said that it was crucial AU- COMESA head of mission and his colleagues to compare notes with such influential local actors in order to strengthen the ongoing efforts for a peaceful and acceptable outcome.
” I am pleased with these strong stakeholders collaborative efforts for a peaceful & acceptable outcome.Thanks to the SRSG and the UN Team for their great service to the people of Kenya 🇰🇪.
Straight from meeting with UNCT, the AU-COMESA head went into a closed door engagement with the incumbent candidate, vice president William Ruto. Former President Koroma described his meeting with Mr Ruto as “extremely helpful.”
Earlier, Former President Koroma kickstarted his engagements with a notes exchange session with the Brenthurst Foundation Elections Observer Mission headed by the former prime minister of Ethiopia, Mr Desalgn Hailemariam.
“Altogether , I now have a much better perspective of what we are dealing with. I have strong faith in the commitment of both political leaders to the cause of peaceful elections and a smooth transition.” The AU-COMESA head also assured that “together with my colleagues, we would do everything possible to accompany Kenya through this important journey.