NAIROBI. Former Kenyan Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka left the country for Sri Lanka after being appointed by the Commonwealth to lead the observer team to the country’s Northern Provincial Council elections slated for Sept. 21.
Musyoka who has been involved in several peace initiatives in the Horn of Africa region left Nairobi on Friday night for Colombo and later Jaffna, where he is expected to take up the new assignment as from Sept. 14 to 28. Before his departure, Musyoka said it is gratifying to serve humanity and thanked the Commonwealth for recognizing his peace efforts. “We have just come from a hotly contested election and the fact that the Commonwealth secretariat has seen it fit to appoint an opposition leader to lead an observer mission to an election in the Asian continent speaks volumes,” Musyoka said in a statement issued on Saturday.
The Commonwealth Observer Mission’s mandate is to observe and consider all aspects of the electoral process and assess compliance with the standards for democratic elections to which Sri Lanka has committed itself. Where appropriate, the mission may also make recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework. The four-member mission will be based mainly in Jaffna. A three- person team deployed from the Commonwealth secretariat will support the mission. Martin Kasirye, Head of the Democracy Section of the Secretariat’s Political Affairs Division, will lead this support team.
The mission will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the government of Sri Lanka, the Office of the Commissioner of Elections, relevant Sri Lankan political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.In his letter to Musyoka, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said the elections were a “landmark to the Sri Lankan north province” and thus Musyoka’s vast political and diplomatic experience will be of great benefit. “It is my hope that they will proceed peacefully and be held on a level playing field, in an environment where the electors can freely exercise their franchise,” he added.