Commonwealth Observer Group will function impartially and independently –John Mahama

Chairman of the Commonwealth Obsever Group tasked to observe the electoral process in Kenya, John Dramani Mahama, has assured the continent of executing a role devoid of partiality as the country conducts its sixth presidential election after embracing multiparty democracy in 1992.

Speaking at a press conference in Nairobi, the former president of Ghana said the 15 Group constituted following an invitation from Kenya’s Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission will conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation.

“We are here to observe the electoral process and will act impartially and independently as we assess its organisation and conduct. We will seek to assess the pre-election environment, polling day activities and the post-election period against the backdrop of Kenya’s national legislation and regulations as well as regional and international commitments. We will then take a view whether it has been conducted to the international and regional standards to which Kenya has committed itself, including its own laws. In this context, we look forward to the Presidential candidates reaffirming their commitment to peaceful elections,” he noted.

“Our planned briefings are wide ranging, encompassing election officials, political parties and local stakeholders; including citizen observers, women’s groups and youth. So far we have met some parties and stakeholders. We have also been briefed by our advance team of observers which has been on the ground since 19 July,” he added.

Ahead of the August 8 elections, Chris Msando, the head of information, communication and technology at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the main body overseeing the polls, was found dead on the outskirts of Nairobi.

According to election officials, Msando, who had a key role developing a new electronic ballot and voter registration systems at the IEBC, had been tortured before he died.

Mr. Mahama extended his condolences and asked that investigation should be launched to ascertain the cause of the murder and also bring perpetrators to book.

“We would join with all those calling for a full, rigorous and thorough investigation to find out who is responsible and why this murder took place. At this stage I do not wish to go further. Our sympathies are with the family and friends of Mr Msando and our interest is in a peaceful and credible election process,” he said.

The 15 Commonwealth Observers are in Kenya from July 31 to August 14, 2017. It is made up of eminent persons drawn from across the different regions of the Commonwealth, including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific. GHANAWEB.COM

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