Saturday, December 3, 2022

Mogae denies snubbing Kenyan presidential election

Former President Festus Mogae has denied that his withdrawal as the head of delegation for the Commonwealth Election Observer group in the upcoming Kenyan presidential election to be held this Tuesday is a snub.

“The former President accepted an invitation by the Commonwealth  Secretary General Patricia Scotland. Due to unforeseen circumstances, His Excellency Dr. Festus Mogae  was unable to travel to Nairobi. He did not decline the invitation,” said Mogae’s private secretary Rhee Hetanang on Friday.

Botswana’s third president had been tasked with leading the 20-person Group to observe the polls to be held on August 9th.

In a statement, The Commonwealth seems to corroborate the no snub claim saying: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, former President of Botswana, H.E. Festus Mogae, has had to withdraw and has been replaced by The Honourable former Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding”.

Kenyans head to the polls as the country has been battered by surging food and fuel prices and high unemployment. Deputy President William Ruto will take on veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga who is leading in opinion polls.

Ruto fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta to the point where Kenyatta threw all his weight behind the opposition, instead of supporting his vice to succeed him.

Some of the observers include Dr. Simon Munzu, the former UN Deputy Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire; Mr. Jerald Joseph, Former Human Rights Commissioner, Malaysia; Ms. Zeinab Badawi, Broadcaster and President of the School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom, Mark Stephens, CBE, United Kingdom Lawyer, among others.

The group is expected to issue an interim statement of its observations on August 11.

Kenyan legislators are said to be the second-highest paid lawmakers in the world, beating their counterparts from the developed economies of US, Britain and Japan.

A study by the UK-based Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows the MPs’ basic pay, which excludes allowances, is 76 times Kenya’s GDP per capita of Sh84,624.

The politicians earn a basic salary of Sh6.39 million per year but Kenya’s per capita income is much lower than that of rich countries, translating into comparatively high pay for the MPs.

Issuing the Group’s arrival statement, Golding urged the electorate to commit to a peaceful election. “We know how important elections are in a democracy; they empower the people to choose representatives who will, in turn, make decisions on their behalf,” he said.

The Chair and observers have been given the mandate to observe and consider the factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole and to judge whether elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Kenya has committed itself, including legislation and relevant regional, commonwealth and international commitments.

Kenyans head to the polls as the country has been battered by surging food and fuel prices and high unemployment. Deputy President William Ruto will take on veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga who is leading in opinion polls.

Ruto fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta to the point where President Kenyatta threw all his weight behind the opposition, instead of supporting his vice to succeed him.

Some of the observers include Dr. Simon Munzu, the former UN Deputy Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire; Mr. Jerald Joseph, Former Human Rights Commissioner, Malaysia; Ms. Zeinab Badawi, Broadcaster and President of the School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom, Mark Stephens, CBE, United Kingdom Lawyer, among others.

The group will issue an interim statement of its observations on August 11.

In 2019 Botswana and Kenya signed three agreements on trade, air transport and ICT by Uhuru Kenyatta and Mokgweetsi Masisi as presidents of both countries.

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