Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka campaigning in Kitui County. PHOTO/COURTESY
By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
COMESA will deploy short term electoral observation missions to the upcoming presidential and general elections in Rwanda and Kenya scheduled on 4th and 8th August 2017 respectively. Both missions will be led by members of the COMESA Committee of Elders.
Ambassador Dr. Simbi Mubako from Zimbabwe will lead the team to Kenya. The team is expected to arrive in Nairobi on 30 July 2017. Bishop Mary Nkosi from Malawi will lead the team to Rwanda. The advance team will arrive in Kigali on 27 July 2017.
The teams will observe the pre-election, election and post-election activities. In addition, they will consult with other key stakeholders in both countries. They will issue preliminary statements immediately after observing the elections. Comprehensive reports will follow after 90 days.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)- a free trade area with twenty member states stretching from Libya to Swaziland believes that elections play a pivotal role in societal transformation in the region and provide a footstall for entrenching democratic principles.
Premised on this critical role, Member States have continued holding periodic elections which have heralded a new dawn by signifying steady progress towards deepening and institutionalizing democracy in the 19-member bloc.
The general elections in Kenya will be the second after the promulgation of a new constitution in 2010. The new constitution which is considered progressive in the region introduced new political positions.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto campaigning in Kilifi County. PHOTO/PSCU
In total, Kenyans are going to vote for 6 elective positions that include the president, governor, senator, Member of Parliament (MP), women representative, and member of county assembly. President Uhuru Kenyatta will be running for his second term in office.
Like other countries in the COMESA region, Kenya has made commendable progress in galvanizing its economic gains and development. Progress has also been made in consolidating national cohesion following the post-election violence that was experienced in 2007.
The presidential elections in Rwanda follows the 2015 referendum that unanimously approved a constitutional amendment that allowed President Paul Kagame to run for office in 2017. The forthcoming elections are considered important in Rwanda’s socio-economic and political progress.
In the past years, Rwanda has made significant progress in consolidating its political stability, economic growth and development. Furthermore, Rwanda has recorded major milestones in consolidating democracy through holding periodic parliamentary and presidential elections as stipulated in its legal framework.
Since 2008, COMESA has continued to support the elections process in Rwanda. COMESA observed the parliamentary elections that were held in 2008, 2013 and the presidential elections held in 2010.
COMESA observes elections in Member States as a means of promoting and consolidating democracy in the region.
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