AU NAMES FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT MBEKI TO LEAD MONITORS OF KENYAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

HARARE, Former South African president Thabo Mbeki is once again leading the African Union (AU) electoral observer mission to the fresh Presidential election to be held in Kenya on Thursday, the continental body said in a statement received here Tuesday.

Kenya held its general election on Aug 8 this year, but in a historic ruling, the Supreme Court nullified the result of the vote for the presidency which was won incumbent President Uhuru Kenyata. The Court ordered a fresh election after allowing a petition by the main opposition candidate for president, Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance, and ordered the two leading candidates to face off in the fresh election.

The election, however, hangs in the balance after Odinga said he would not participate in the re-run.

The AU statement said Mbeki will lead a team of 40 short-term observers who will remain in Kenya until November this year.

Part of the team had arrived in Kenya on Sept 29.

“The deployment of AUEOM to the fresh presidential election in Kenya is in line with the AU’s mandate of promoting and deepening democracy on the continent,” the AU statement said.

Mbeki was the leader of the AU team for the initial election and was criticized by some sectors for having endorsed the election as free and fair only for it to be later nullified.

Other international observers, among them former Ghana President John Mahama and former United States Secretary of State John Kerry had also largely praised the Aug 8 general election and received some criticism after annulment of the presidential election result. The court did not interfere with the Aug 8 results for Parliament, governorships and county assemblies.

The AU said its election observers were in Kenya at the invitation of the Kenyan government and the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK