Former Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Abdulrahman Kinana has said a credible electoral process is a critical lever in promoting political integration and strengthening democratic processes in the EAC regional integration agenda.
In an eight-page speech he delivered in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, Kinana said the deployment of the EAC Election Observer Mission to Kenyan elections is part of EAC’s goal to promote democratic governance in line with the fundamental principles of the Community.
Kinana made the remarks on Monday, when launching the EAC Election Observer Mission for the forthcoming Kenya General Elections.
“Kenyans will determine how to express their democratic rights under a new, vibrant political dispensation. We look forward to elections that will strengthen and advance the democratic culture in East Africa, and thus contribute to the peace and security East Africans enjoy,” Kinana asserted.
He also appealed to Kenya’s media to report objectively during the elections.
EAC Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera called upon all Kenyan voters to exercise their democratic right and civic duty by participating fully and peacefully in the March 4 General Election.
He stated that the EAC mission’s mandate will be to observe and consider all aspects of the electoral process, assessing whether the elections are conducted according to the standards of democratic elections to which the country has committed itself.
“The EAC’s Observer Mission will conduct its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was adopted at the United Nations in 2005,” he said, adding: “The observers will monitor campaign activities, media coverage, the legislative framework and its implementation, the work of the election administration and relevant government bodies, and the resolution of election disputes.”
“In the course of observation, the mission will meet and consult with representatives from relevant authorities and political parties, as well as with candidates, and with representatives from civil society, the media and the international community,” he elaborated.
He further called upon all stakeholders to ensure that the elections are concluded in a peaceful manner and wished all candidates to accept the outcome of the elections in the interest of peace, brotherliness, national interest, regional integration, development and good neighborliness in East Africa.
The launch was attended by EAC Ambassadors/High Commissioners based in Nairobi namely Batilda Burian (Tanzania), Angelina Wapakhabulo (Uganda), Nibigira Ezekiel (Burundi) and Yamina Karatanyi (Rwanda).