20 February 2013

Botswana: Former Botswana President Festus Mogae to Lead Commonwealth Observer Group for Kenya Elections

press release

The Group will be in Kenya from 25 February to 11 March.

Former Botswana President Festus Mogae will lead a Commonwealth Observer Group to Kenya’s general elections scheduled for 4 March.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma constituted the group at the invitation of Kenya’s Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission.

In 2008, Mr Mogae won the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, an initiative established to recognise and celebrate exemplary leadership in Africa. He previously led Commonwealth observers to the 2011 elections in Nigeria.

Speaking ahead of the group’s arrival in Kenya, the Commonwealth Secretary-General said: “The Commonwealth has a long history of engagement with Kenya and we are happy to observe these elections. I am grateful to Mr Mogae and the members of this Commonwealth Observer Group for agreeing to undertake this important exercise on behalf of the Commonwealth.”

Mr Sharma added: “As we know, the previous elections in Kenya in 2007 resulted in a tragic situation, with large-scale loss of life and destruction of property. We very much hope that these elections will build upon the success of the 2010 Constitutional Referendum, and help to further strengthen the democratic process in the country. Our expectation is that all sides will engage peacefully and constructively throughout the process.”

The Commonwealth Observer Group’s mandate is to observe and consider all aspects of the electoral process with a view to assessing compliance with the standards for democratic elections to which Kenya has committed itself. Where appropriate, the Group may also make recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework.

Commonwealth Observer Groups act impartially and independently and conduct themselves according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The Commonwealth Observer Group to the 2013 Kenya elections will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Kenya, the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission, Kenyan political parties, and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.

The Commonwealth Observer Group will arrive in Nairobi on 25 February 2013 and will stay until 11 March 2013. A Commonwealth Secretariat team will support the group.

The full list of Commonwealth observers is:

H E Mr Festus Mogae

Chair

Former President

Botswana

Ms Shana Kaiser

Elections Expert, International IDEA

Canada

Dr Shahabuddin Quraishi

Former Chief Election Commissioner

India

Mr Fabian Brown

Development Specialist

Jamaica

Mr Thomas Kwesi Quartey

Lawyer/Former Diplomat

Ghana

Justice Carl Singh

Chancellor of the Judiciary

Guyana

Mrs Nancy Tembo

Commissioner, Electoral Commission

Malawi

Ms Fathimath Ilham Mohamed

Executive Director, Transparency Maldives

Maldives

Ms Tahura Titi Gabi

Freelance Journalist and Media Monitor

Papua New Guinea

Hon Jacqueline Muhongayire

Member of Parliament

Rwanda

Ms Miatta French

Commissioner, Electoral Commission

Sierra Leone

Ms Raenette Taljaard

Commissioner, Electoral Commission

South Africa

Hon Dr Didas Massaburi

Mayor of Dar-es-Salaam

Tanzania

Mr Joshua Wamala

Head, Election Management, Electoral Commission

Uganda

Ms Kaye Oliver

Former Diplomat

United Kingdom

Ms Samira Sawlani

Journalist

United Kingdom

Mr Eliias Chipimo

Politician

Zambia

Media contact:

Julius Mucunguzi

Communications Officer

Communications and Public Affairs Division

Commonwealth Secretariat

Tel: +44 (0) 7894 593517

Email: j.mucunguzi@commonwealth.int

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