Kenya: John Kerry Picked as Co-Lead Observer for Upcoming Polls
By Collins Omulo
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry and former Senegalese Prime Minister Aminata Touré will co-lead the Carter Center’s election observation mission in Kenya.
The two were picked by the organisation to lead a team of more than 50 observers who will be monitoring polling and tabulation of the August 8 elections throughout the country.
The Carter Center is an American nongovernmental organisation that focuses on human rights, conflict resolution, election monitoring, public health among others.
According to a dispatch, Mr Kerry, Touré, and the Carter Center leadership team will arrive in the country in the days leading up to the election to meet with key stakeholders, including political party candidates, civil society organisations, government officials, domestic citizen observers, and other international election observer missions, before observing polling and tabulation on August 8.
Mr Kerry said that Kenya had come a long way since the elections of 2007 and it was up to leaders on all sides to ensure that the violence that followed the election in 2007 was not repeated in August 8 polls.
“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,” said Mr Kerry.
He reminded those who would be on the ground observing the elections that they also had a responsibility to help every citizen feel confident that the process was fair and just.
“Each and every time I have visited Kenya, I have been reminded of its remarkable culture, strengthened by diversity and dedicated to democratic principles. I look forward to returning later this summer to observe an important election,” he said.
For her part, Ms Touré said that she was honoured to co-lead the mission pointing out that Kenya’s democracy would emerge from the election process stronger than ever and serve as an inspiration to the rest of the continent.
“It is my hope that the election will be peaceful and reflect the spirit of democracy that persists in Kenya. I urge all election stakeholders to act responsibly and call on their supporters to do the same,” said Ms Toure.
The Carter Center is observing the General Election at the invitation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.