Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 August 2022
Former President of Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma, departed Freetown for Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday 3 August 2022, where he is leading the African Union Elections Observation Mission (AUEOM), following an invitation from the Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission, HE Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Kenya will be holding its general elections on 9 August which are being stiffly contested by four presidential candidates. The aspirants are vying to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta whose second term ends in August.
The AU is keen on ensuring that the polls are peaceful, credible and the outcome widely accepted. As such, the continental body is once again drawing on President Koroma’s vast experience in handling such highly contested elections.
“Given your vast experience and commitment to promoting democracy and peace on the African Continent, I wish to invite you to lead the AUEOM to the Republic of Kenya…,”stated HE Mahamat in his invitation letter.
It could be noted that the Sierra Leonean statesman had served the AU exemplarily well through elections observation missions in Namibia and Zambia. He also successfully led ECOWAS elections observation missions to Togo, Benin and The Gambia.
“The whole of Africa is wishing Kenya well in its critical democratic journey. I am optimistic that the leaders and all Kenyans, will emerge from this election stronger, more democratic and more united,” said President Koroma.
In his welcome remarks to fellow AU Short-Term Election Observers, Koroma said: “Distinguished Observers, Ladies and Gentlemen. You are all warmly welcome to this Joint African Union-COMESA Election Observer Mission (AUEOM) to the Republic of Kenya. Many of you might have previously observed elections in your own countries and in other places. As you will have noted, no two countries are the same. Political and Electoral Contexts differ as will experience as an observer.
“However, the mandate of this joint African Union and COMESA Election Observer Mission is to make an independent, objective, and impartial assessment of the electoral process in accordance with the provisions of the international standards and principles that our two organisations have committed to. These are the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) and the 2012 OAU/AU Declaration of Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, Guidelines on the Conduct of COMESA Election Observer Missions. We should also measure these elections against the Constitution and Electoral Laws of Kenya.
“You may be aware that recent elections in Kenya have been marred by challenges and controversies and contested outcomes. The 9 August general elections which you are here to observe may not be different. The contestation for the Presidential election is high. Citizens, voters, and candidates are paying close attention to the process, the outcome and indeed to the assessments of International Election Observers. Tension and anxiety if not managed well may lead to violence. This then makes our presence and responsibility as continental and regional organisations, extraordinarily important in view of the mandate of our organisations and our overall visions for a peaceful, prosperous, and integrated Africa.
“In light of this, as Short-Term Observers you have a demanding task ahead of you and I hope that this three-day briefing programme will enrich your understanding of the context of the elections, as well as the level of preparedness of the Kenyan electoral stakeholders and the conduct of the 9 August 2022 general elections.
“I strongly believe that our Joint Mission together with the other Regional and International Observer Missions invited to these Elections will make valuable contributions in strengthening the democratisation of this country and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in Kenya. I kindly request that, throughout the mission you apply strict neutrality and objectivity as well as adhere to the African Union and COMESA Codes of Conduct for Election Observers, particularly respect for national laws, customs and traditions of Kenyans, refrain from talking to the media, cooperate and follow instructions from the briefing sessions and in particular our Coordination Team.
“Over the past few years, the observation methodologies used by both the African Union and COMESA have improved lending greater credibility to our work in election observation missions. Part of these improvements ensures that the mission’s technical team objectively capture and analyze the information that you as observers will send in on election day, as this will form part of our overall assessment of the 9 August elections.
“Having said that, let me wish those who will be deployed outside Nairobi safe travels. To everyone I wish you a productive experience during your period of deployment. On this note, I officially launch this Joint AU-COMESA Election Observer Mission to the Kenya 9 August 2022 General Elections. Thank You.”
President Koroma and his team will engage various stakeholders in government, the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, political parties, civil society, the media, the diplomatic community and others involved in the electoral process. The AUEOM in Kenya will include elections experts and diplomats drawn from the AU member states.
The Former President is expected to return home on 12 August 2022.
We all the obligation and urged one another to perfectly give an unlimited respect to our leaders, whether they’re currently in office or not. But at the same time, praises belonging to someone for certain area who deserves it. This is not a joke folks; comparing Dr. H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President Of the Republic of Kenya to our former President, H.E. Ernest B. Koroma, doesn’t make sense. Can any African leader takes an example from him?. This man is leaving office with ” Honor of respect”, I’ve been watching videos online which I don’t have the ability to post it for you to watched. The Arm forces missing him already, singing in their language which I couldn’t translate, with joy and happiness.
Both Mr. Raila Odinga the opposition leader and H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta were disagreed on many issues but they were not enemies, and they both worked together for benefits of the country and it’s people, that what we called a leadership. Also both president Uhuru and his Vice H.E. William Ruto, were having bad tongues, not friendly in another word, no peace between the two, but that does not instigates President Uhuru to dismissed him from office, do you know why?, because he was elected to the office by the voters. Don’t you understand that he was having all the power and strength to remove him from office? yes of course, because he respects the law and the voters decision. Today, he’s supporting his supporting Mr. William Ruto, and openly supporting Mr. Odinga, did EBK does that? you be the judge. This is another scenario, after his successful second term in office, though he is a good president, never requested for more time, third term, life chairman for the party and so on. I believed after the election there would be much to say.
The former Pres. Ernest Bai Koroma been invited to many occasions like this just add more on to his knowledge. Cleaning Kenya with good and marvelous speeches oh yes, while your own country” Sierra Leone” going bad! really?. I don’t know, how is he watching his colleagues in their eyes. Thank you President Kenyatta, go home have fun with your great family and enjoy your retirement effectively. I am currently in Gambia on personal business, the small blessed west African state. Long live Kenyatta and long live Kenyans.
All evidence now points to Earnest Koroma as the successor to former Nigerian military officer and President – Olusagun Obasanjo, in leading AU missions to observe elections around the African Continent. Obasanjo is now 85 years old and is being spared the rigours of observing elections, although he is still quite strong, I saw him juggling with a football the other day, I wonder what position he used play, may be an attacking midfielder.
So now we have Earnest on the scene. He has gained enormous experience in monitoring elections since leaving office in 2018. He now has more time to reflect on his days in office to see that he made many mistakes, not the least of which was his total weakness in stamping out corruption and declaring himself chairman for life of APC. In the case of the latter he and his Secretary General, Foday Yansaneh, had to be routed by a court of law in a rather humiliating fashion, spearheaded by Sylvia Blyden, Alfred Conteh and others. What a way to be pushed into the political shadows, the very place that was fearsome to Koroma and Yansaneh?
The African Union has its own standards in determining who gets to monitor elections; by the looks of things Earnest will be on the international scene for a little while yet. I wish him God’s speed in Kenya. I know his performance there will be a a far cry from how he handled mother Sierra Leone, who has been in tears for over six decades.
After completing his two terms limit , four presidential candidates are running to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. In 2017 , Kenyatta’s main rival on that race was the veteran politician Raila Odinga .President Kenyatta got 54.17% of the vote and Raila Odinga got 44.94 % of the vote .Both men came from the two families that have dominated Keyan politics since Jomo Kenyatta the father of the present incumbent to the office of the president of Kenya won the country it’s independence.This year’s presidential race ,there are four candidates vying to replace Mr Uhuru Kenyatta .Raila Odinga , of the Azimio party , millionaire “Hustler” candidate and the current vice president Mr William Ruto of the UDA , that pitched himself as the champion and sole defender of the poor and down trodden.Mr George Wahackoyah of the Roots party of Kenya ,and Warigha Mwaure of the Agano party After a falling out with his vice president William Ruto , Mr Keynatta have thrown his weight of support behind his former rival Raila Odinga . Doesn’t mean much given the fluidity of Keyan elections .Maybe for the first time tribalism will not play a significant factor in deciding the elections out comes.
The cost of living and the impact of the environment is looming large in this election .Importantly, lessons have been learnt after the ethnic violence that followed the 2007 presidential elections , in which more than a thousands innocent people lost their lives and thousands more were displaced and made homeless in their own country.With the subsequent charges brought against the current President and his Vice President William Ruto for fueling ethinic violence by the International Criminal Court in the Hague and the trials that followed in which both men were acquitted, a point was made that the international community will not sit by and allow politicians to use elections to sow divisions and ethnic violence amongst their voting public .Maybe going forward , the outcome of this election will have far more reaching consequences for Kenya. If William Ruto the Hustler millionaire wins over his closest rival Mr Raila Odinga , power will be transferred from the two Kenyan political dynastic families to someone from a humble background that used to milk cows in his village in the rift Valley of Kenya .
Kenya being one of the high tech economies in Africa,and a young population will solidify it status in the African continent, that there is still hope , a young boy from a dusty village will still dream of becoming the president of Kenya .And our own former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma will ensure that happens .His record of handing over power to Bio after the 2018 presidential with out using states powers to hang on to power as our life president , have won him admiration around Africa , even if he is still velified at home .But that is the put down syndrome we collectively suffers from in Sierra Leone .
Contestants who’s fail and accept out come of result in the name of peace are the greatest in humanity. Bravo to Africa leaders for humanity and democracy.