By John Kariuki
The Commission today held a briefing session for the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) Observer Mission which has been accredited by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to observe the 9th August 2022 general election.
Speaking during the briefing the Commission Secretary/ CEO of the Commission, Ms. Mercy Wambua thanked the AOPMA delegation for honouring the invitation to observe Kenya’s 2022 general election and noted that this is the first election in Africa with the highest number of Ombudspersons observing.
The Commissioner in Charge of Access to Information, Ms. Lucy Ndung’u reemphasised the importance of access to information during the election as a tool for democratic governance and that without access to information the electoral process may not be transparent and credible.
Ms. Ndung’u committed that as the oversight body for the access to information law, the Commission will continue working with other election stakeholders to ensure that access to information is enhanced during the election. She also urged the citizens to exercise their rights by voting during the general election.
On her part, the Chairperson of the Commission and the Secretary General of AOMA, Hon Florence Kajuju appreciated the Ombudspersons and their delegations for honouring the invitation to observe the election and noted the integral role that observers play in ensuring a free, fair, credible, transparent and accountable election.
Hon Kajuju informed the team that the briefing was aimed at informing them on what to expect during the observation at the counties and that they will be accompanied by the Commission on Administrative Justice staff who are conversant with the regions and that the Ministry of Interior will support with security arrangements.
She also reemphasised that the AOMA Observer Mission report will be submitted to the AOMA Executive Committee and the African Ombudsman Research Center (AORC).
The Ombudsman of Malawi and the Head of Mission- AOMA Observer Mission, Ms. Grace Malera thanked the Chairperson of CAJ, Hon Kajuju for according her the opportunity to be the head of the mission and also appreciated colleague Ombudspersons who availed themselves for the election observation Mission.
She noted that the Ombudspersons will be observing the election, particularly with an emphasis on establishing whether the election is conducted within recognised principles of administrative justice.
This includes adherence to all procedures and processes laid down in Kenya’s electoral laws and urged the team to live up to the expectation of the observer mission. The team comprising five Ombudspersons from Angola, Benin, Burundi, Malawi, and Tanzania will be deployed in 11 counties.
Present at the meeting were the Ombudsman of Benin, Hon Pascal Essou Ombudsman of Angola, Hon. Antonia Florbela De Desus Araujo, Head of Tanzanian Human Rights Commission, Hon Mathew Mwaimu, Representative of AORC Secretariat, Mr. Franky Lwelela, and accompanying delegation.
The team later briefed the media on the observation exercise.