Nasa hopes John Kerry's role will facilitate credible polls

Nasa leader Raila Odinga. He said he would take his oath office on December 12. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The observers will check obedience to electoral laws, preparedness of the IEBC and the general conduct during voting.

Opposition outfit National Super Alliance has welcomed the appointment of John Kerry as an election observer in the August polls, but asked the electoral commission to ensure every process remains credible.

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga said the coming of the former US Secretary of State to Kenya signifies the importance of the elections, which must be held in an acceptable standard.

"Secretary Kerry has a long and distinguished history of supporting democratisation in Kenya.

"In the same vein, [Ms Aminata] Toure, who served as Prime Minister under [Senegal] President Macky Sall, has rich experience working at the intersection of peace, security and justice," Mr Salim Lone, Mr Odinga’s adviser, said.

"Nothing is more important now than the IEBC conducting its processes in a way that is utterly transparent and devoid of any suspicion.

"All the tenets of democracy, and hence peace, can only be fulfilled if the elections are free, fair and transparent."

Mr Kerry will co-lead the election observation mission from The Carter Centre, a non-profit organisation founded by former US President Jimmy Carter to promote democracy and human rights around the world.

The European Union has also dispatched a delegation led by Marietje Schaake.

As observers, they will check obedience to electoral laws, preparedness of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, security services provided and the general conduct during voting.

They will then meet with political party candidates, civil society organisations, government officials, domestic citizen observers, and other international election observer missions, before observing polling and tabulation after the August 8 polls.

Mr Kerry, who previously spoke on the need for credible elections last year while Secretary of State said:

"I urge all political parties and candidates to support a fair, orderly, credible, and nonviolent electoral process; respect the electoral code of conduct; and keep faith with the Kenyan people," he said in a statement after the announcement this week.

Nasa thinks Kerry’s presence will add to the importance of the polls, which could see the toughest contest yet between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"All Kenyans will be pleased that these two renowned diplomats will be coming to assist in what is an extraordinary enterprise of millions of Kenyans engaged in a passionate but peaceful electoral contest.

"They all hope that the outcome will be unequivocally seen as free and fair and lead to the election of leaders Kenyans want to lead them into a much better future.


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