COMESA election observer team expected in Nairobi

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—–A 20 member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) election observer delegation is expected to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya tomorrow following an invitation by the Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya.


The delegation, which is under the overall leadership of Ambassador Simbi Veke Mubako from Zimbabwe, includes senior government officials, representatives of civil society, parliamentarians and academia from the COMESA member states of Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


According to a statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka by COMESA Mission Co-ordinator, Sharon Ndhlovu, the delegation will be in Kenya until March 8, 2013, during which time it will observe pre-election activities, voting, vote counting and declaration of results and the immediate post election period in selected districts.


Ms Ndhlovu said as part of its mission the delegation would consult electoral stakeholders including political parties, candidates, citizens, civil society and faith based organisations, the media and also exchange views with the diplomatic community as well as other election observers.


She explained that the observation process would be guided primarily by the constitution and legal framework of the Republic of Kenya as read with relevant international and regional instruments.


She disclosed that the COMESA observer team would observe the Kenya elections jointly with the East African Community (EAC) adding that COMESA welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the democratic process in Kenya and looked forward to the cooperation of all Kenyans.


Earlier in January, a joint high level delegation of the African Union Panel of the Wise and the COMESA Committee of Elders conducted a week long pre-election assessment mission to Kenya ahead of its March 4, general elections.


The Main goal of the mission to Kenya that ran from January 16 – 22, 2013, was to express the AU and COMESA solidarity with the Kenyan people.


The mission also aimed to indicate the two institutions’ support to the efforts of the government of Kenya, and all political actors and civil society working to create a conducive environment for the holding of free, transparent, credible and peaceful elections.