Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth has praised Mr John Mahama and the Commonwealth Observer group for the commendable way it observed the recent elections in Kenya. Speaking on BBC, the Secretary General said the members of group perfectly executed the role assigned them by the Commonwealth Secretariat. She said accusations that the group and other observer groups did not present accurate report about the recently held elections in Kenya per the supreme court ruling are unfounded.
She said observer groups perform specific roles which are different from duties electoral commissions are mandated by their constitutions to perform. She said basically, the Commonwealth observer group assess whether an election is in line with international standard, highlight specific recommendations for improvement, and demonstrate the support of the international community for genuine democratic elections. She said the Commonwealth observer group led by former President Mahama, excellently performed the role assigned it and the methods the group adopted are clearly defined in the declaration of principles for international election observation. She said issues concerning electoral technicalities such as transfer of votes
Issues about the server log etc were handled by the electoral commission. She said the constitution of Kenya mandates its electoral commission to perform certain specific duties which are technically different from what the observer group was assigned to do in Kenya.
She advised, people making conclusive statements about the election based on the supreme courts ruling to wait for the full judgement (report). She said all the constitution of Kenya guarantees aggrieved parties or persons to seek for legal redress and that point was clearly made by Former President John Mahama in his post elections statement. This was what President Mahama said in his final statement
“If there are still issues, then candidates can take the issue to the COURTS”
Asked if she still have confidence in the team the Commonwealth dispatched to Kenya per the supreme Court’s ruling, she said she has absolute confidence in the team. Voters exercised their franchise without intimidation, votes were freely counted, there were no incidence of box snatching and other negative practices recorded in previous elections. For the first time in Kenyan elections all the competing parties and other stakeholders adhered strictly to all the guidelines.
The full list of Commonwealth observers is:
Chairperson: His Excellency John Dramani Mahama Former President of the Republic of Ghana
Members: (in alphabetical order of nationality)
Ms Natasha Stott Despoja, Former Ambassador, Senator and Party Leader – Australia
Professor Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, Former Minister of External Relations – Cameroon
Mr Christopher Cobb, Journalist/Electoral Communication Specialist – Canada
Ms Pauline Welsh, Director of Legal Affairs, Electoral Commission of Jamaica
Mrs Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Executive Director, West Africa Civil Society Institute – Ghana
Professor Aishah Bidin, Law Professor and Human Rights Commissioner – Malaysia
Mr Solomon Akintola Oyateru, Ambassador (Retired) – Nigeria
Hon Gideon Kayinamura, Ambassador (Retired) – Rwanda
Ms Angelique Pouponneau, Vice-Chairperson for Inclusion and Engagement, Commonwealth Youth Council -Seychelles
Mr Glen Mashinini, Chairperson/Commissioner, Electoral Commission of South Africa
Ms Elizabeth Lwanga King, Development Advisor – Uganda
Hon Canon Justice James Ogoola, Chairman, The Elders Forum of Uganda
Baroness Sandip Verma, Parliamentarian – United Kingdom
Hon Justice Damian Zefren Lubuva, Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Justice at the Court of Appeal, and Chairman of the National Electoral Commission United Republic of Tanzania.