NAIROBI – The Horn of Africa regional bloc on Monday urged all stakeholders in Kenya’s general elections to ensure that the Aug. 8 polls are peaceful.
The Head of the Inter-Governmental Authority Development (IGAD) Election Observation Mission, Tewolde Gebremeskel, told a media briefing in Nairobi that peaceful elections in Kenya will help to promote stability in the region.
“It is the wish of IGAD that the election is conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner and in full conformity with the laws and regulations of Kenya as well as universally accepted principles of conducting elections,” Gebremeskel said.
“We are confident that the polls will be peaceful because Kenyans have learnt from past experience that violence is destructive and it destroys community cohesion and development that took years to build,” he said during the official launch of the IGAD Observation Mission in Kenya.
The regional economic community plans to deploy a team of 18 members, drawn from its member states to monitor pre-election and as well as polling day activities.
IGAD member states include Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
The observation team plans to release a preliminary report on August 10. Gebremeskel noted that the IGAD region is making progress in regard to elections, which is a key activity in the process of democratization in the region.
“Kenya, as part of the region, has also made notable progress as is evidenced in the peaceful 2013 elections, which was conducted under a new constitution that devolved power to the counties,” he added.
IGAD has experience of observing elections in the region since 2010.
Gebremeskel said that observing the 2017 elections in Kenya will enhance IGAD’s capacity as international observers and add to the cumulative experience to share with member states.