Opinions Sat, 2 Sep 2017

John Dramani Mahama represented The Commonwealth

The Kenyan general election took place on the 8th of August 2017 and all the observer missions in the country, unanimously declared it "free and fair".

It is totally irresponsible for any legal practitioner or political analyst to blame former President John Dramani Mahama for saying the Kenyan election was "free and fair" simply because the Kenyan Supreme Court have after, indepth investigation, over rule the election as "null and void".

The fact that Mr. Martin Oloo has chosen to blame Mr. Dramani Mahama for expressing the common position of all the election observers, does not make it right.

President John Dramani Mahama did not choose to be in Kenya because he personally wanted to. The former president was asked by the Commonwealth office to lead a team of election observers and therefore serve as the Commonwealth spokes person on the Kenyan election. Thus anything the president said was not his personal opinion but the view of the team, as the position of the Commonwealth.

If Mr. Oloo is very conversant with the working of the multinational diplomacy, he will not be jumping on casting blame on the former president of Ghana, for saying the election was "free and fair based on the facts available to the team". In addition to annoucing the election as free and fair, the former President was quick in informing all contesting parties to seek for redress in the court of law.

It is very important to recall that in addition to the Commonwealth team of observers led by Former president Mahama, the African Union team led by Tabo Mbeki, the US Cater Centre led by the former US Secretary of State John Kerry, and the European Union observer mission led by Marietje Schaake, declared the election as free and fair.

Everyone of these observer mission spoke with one voice on the election. Clearly all the election observers compared notes, to come up with a common position and division among them could have inflame the already charged political atmosphere.

In a statement, the EU observer mission was even quoted saying "candidates and their supporters must accept that not winning is a natural part of a democratic competition". She went on to add that "Any irregularities or challenges to the process and outcome should be addressed through the petitions and the courts".

Here we are with a legal practitioner and a political analyst, failing to understand the simple fact that a leader of a delegation, like the Commonwealth, is a mere messenger, where an individual couldn't have represented any other position than what the authority prescribed.

I rather had former president Mahama sticking to the common position as agreed by all the election observers. I prefer the decision that gave the Kenyan Supreme Court the opportunity of seizing the occasion to pass her judgment in a peaceful space.

I have no doubt the situation would have been different if the observers were divided on their positions. I believed that saying something else would have led to total lost of security control, with lost of lives.

Since international diplomacy is not about who is right or wrong but an opportunity for peace to prevail amidst very difficult circumstances, I raise my cup to his excellency former President John Dramani Mahama for the wonderful job done in Kenya. Sir, your colleagues in the entire observer mission, are very proud of you.

Kofi Ali Abdul

Chairman ECRA

ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocate
Columnist: Kofi Ali Abdul Yekin