Kenyatta to head AU observer mission in Nigeria elections

Wednesday February 15 2023
Former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta

Former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta who will lead the African Union’s Election Observation Mission to Nigeria. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta will lead the African Union’s Election Observation Mission to Nigeria, the continental body announced on Tuesday, granting him his second regional role since he retired in September 2022.

Mr Kenyatta, president of Kenya between 2013 and 2022, will lead a team of 90 observers to the Nigerian elections due on February 25.

This is the second assignment for Mr Kenyatta by the African Union.

Soon after he retired, the AU appointed him as a member of the troika of negotiators in the conflict between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front. The team also had former Nigerian President Olusegun Obadanjo and former South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The African Union said the team will “provide an accurate and impartial assessment of the electoral process, including the degree to which the conduct of the elections meets regional, continental and international standards for democratic elections”.

It will be composed of representatives from AU member states including officials from electoral bodies, civil society, independent experts and officials from the AU.


Impartial report

Electoral observation missions, though appointed by the African Union, are supposed to present an impartial report of events and provide recommendations “for improvement of future elections based on the findings”. They will also be expected to show solidarity and support for Nigeria’s political stability.

They will meet with electoral officials, contestants, civil society and security officials in Nigeria before issuing a preliminary report by February 27.

Nigerians head to the polls on February 25 in elections that will see them elect senators, governors and a president to replace Muhammadu Buhari who is retiring.