While Kenya is set to hold General Elections on August 9, 2022, Somalia deferred its elections which were due on November 25.
Speaking while delivering a state of the region address in Mombasa, IGAD Executive Secretary Dr Workneh Gebeyehu also emphasized on the need to resolve disputes arising from elections amicably through legal means.
“The upcoming elections in Kenya and Somalia will serve as a litmus test of how deep constitutionalism has taken root in our region. As IGAD we wish the government and the people of Kenya and Somalia a peaceful election to be held in the coming times,” Gebeyehu said.
While congratulating Ethiopia and Djibouti for holding peaceful polls, Gebeyehu urged Somalia and Kenya to ensure democratic principles prevail before, during and after the general elections in 2022.
“IGAD is optimistic that democratic principles will continue to be upheld and practice of peaceful resolution of disputes through legal channels will further be entrenched to all electoral process in the region. Let us remember that we are all stakeholders in peace building,” he said.
IGAD membership comprises of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.
Gebeyehu’s remarks on Friday come at a time of heightened political temperatures with presidential aspirants wooing eligible voters while also seeking to expand alliances.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga launched Azimio La Umoja Movement on December 10, an ODM-led coalition bringing together allied parties in support of his 2022 presidential bid.
The movement was launched during a national convention where delegates mostly drawn from ODM proclaimed him as their preferred candidate.
Odinga accepted the nomination declaring his fifth stab at the presidency.
“I Raila Amollo Odinga having been faithful and committed having worked as a patriotic Kenyan accept to present myself as presidential candidate in the August 8th, 2022 election,” Odinga told delegates at the convention held at Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi.
His main challenger Deputy William Ruto has also been popularizing his Bottom Up economic model which he has described as the only hope for people at the bottom of the pyramid.
DP Ruto is the presumed candidate United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party, a Jubilee coalition member, which re-branded before he took over as the de-facto leader.
On December 1, President Uhuru Kenyatta alluded to a possible presidential election victory by Odinga, now his political ally, saying he could win the 2022 “marathon”.
President Kenyatta who has been working closely with Odinga since their truce in March 2018 after a presidential election contested by Odinga suggested DP Ruto, who he had declared on numerous occasions prior to 2018 as his preferred successor, could lose the race.
“Leadership is not a sprint, it is a marathon, you will be busy running fast and by the time you are done you run out of breath but mzee (loosely translated as an old person) who has been walking slowly by slowly comes and passes you and wins the race. Go slowly,” said Kenyatta.
“There is no hurry to leadership. Go slowly and you will get there. Stop rushing yourself until you start blaming your opponents and saying you cannot work with them.”
On June 15, Kenyatta challenged former National Super Alliance (NASA) principals who abandoned Odinga to form One Kenya Alliance (OKA) to unite to enhance their chances of forming the next government after he retires.
Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya) joined KANU party leader Gideon Moi to form OKA after ending an alliance with Odinga under NASA.
They are yet to agree on who will fly the presidential flag.