Former Botswana President Festus Mogae opts out of Kenya elections role

Former Botswana President Festus Mogae. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Former Botswana President Festus Mogae has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Election Observer group in Kenya due to unavoidable reasons.

Mogae was scheduled to lead a team of twenty members observing Kenya’s General Election on August 9.

The Commonwealth, in a statement Wednesday wrote: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, former President of Botswana Festus Mogae, has had to withdraw and has been replaced by former Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding,”

Golding, in his welcoming statement, hoped for a peaceful and democratic election as Kenya heads to the polls.

“Just as politicians have made a commitment to a peaceful election, we urge stakeholders, including the electorate, to commit to doing the same, consistent with the Commonwealth’s values and principles.”

“We, therefore, hope our presence in Kenya serves as a reminder that the people of the Commonwealth stand together with Kenyans as they exercise their democratic rights, recognising how important these elections are to the people of Kenya, East Africa, Africa, and the whole of the Commonwealth at large,” he noted.

The twenty-member team has already arrived in the country, at the request of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and will be deployed across the country to witness the entire electoral process including campaigns, preparation, voting, and tallying.

Some of the observers include former Uganda Principal Judge of the High Court Justice James Ogoola, Australia Commonwealth Foundation Director-General Dr Anne Gallagher, and United Kingdom's Member of the House of Lords Denise Kingsmill, among others.

The group will then issue an interim statement of its observations on August 11.