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

20 February 2013
London, 20 February 2013 ‒ 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
Former President

Ms Shana Kaiser
Elections Expert, International IDEA

Dr Shahabuddin Quraishi
Former Chief Election Commissioner

Mr Fabian Brown
Development Specialist

Mr Thomas Kwesi Quartey
Lawyer/Former Diplomat

Justice Carl Singh
Chancellor of the Judiciary

Mrs Nancy Tembo
Commissioner, Electoral Commission

Ms Fathimath Ilham Mohamed
Executive Director, Transparency Maldives

Ms Tahura Titi Gabi
Freelance Journalist and Media Monitor
Papua New Guinea

Hon Jacqueline Muhongayire
Member of Parliament

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

Mr Joshua Wamala
Head, Election Management, Electoral Commission

Ms Kaye Oliver
Former Diplomat
United Kingdom

Ms Samira Sawlani
United Kingdom

Mr Eliias Chipimo