Jakaya Kikwete to head EAC election observers in Kenya

Former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete spoke during the launch of the EAC election observation mission in Kenya on  August 1, 2022. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete has been picked to lead a group of eminent persons from the East Africa Community (EAC) to observe Kenya's General Election set for August 9.

Acknowledging the appointment, Dr Kikwete took the opportunity to congratulate Kenyans for conducting peaceful campaigns and called for peace after the election.

He said that the commission is comprised of about 50 observers from the EAC partner states who will be in the country from August 1 to August 12.

"I congratulate Kenyans for the peaceful and political maturity that has been witnessed so far and we ask you to maintain the spirit throughout the remainder of the process," Kikwete said

The former head of state further said the mission would assess the level of preparedness, compliance with the electoral law and compliance to democracy and they will release a preliminary report after the polls have been concluded.

"We are looking at the Kenyan law that governs the election and how the law is being observed," he said.

In the country, there are various stakeholders that are actively involved every five years as they help monitor and call out issues that they see could result in election violence.

The likes of Elections Observation Group (ELOG) are actively involved in violence prevention mainly through reporting potential threats to peace.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), is also engaging in peace campaigns and recruits peace and cohesion monitors who monitor hate speech and promote harmony during the election period.

Other platforms such as Uchaguzi (Elections) Kenya and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) also monitored the elections and issue reports of any incidences from the public through text messages, emails and online messages. The information, depending on its nature, would be relayed to the agencies responsible for them to take action.

Kenya’s elections were also observed by regional observers from EAC, Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and The African Union that deploy observation missions.

The bodies usually release a preliminary statement upon the conclusion of the election process.

This year apart from the local observers already the African Union Commission June deployed an international election expert mission to Kenya comprising eight core teams of experts that would among others assess the political dynamics and genuine competitiveness and fairness of the electoral campaign.

Other organizations such as the European Union Election Observation Mission camped in 39 out of the 47 counties to monitor the electoral process in April.

Comesa also deployed a high-level pre-election assessment mission in May as part of their joint efforts to promote free, fair, peaceful and credible elections in the country.