Over 5,000 observers expected for Kenya’s hotly contested polls

The electoral commission says it’s the highest number of observers the country has ever had, a clear sign that all eyes will be on the East African economic giant.

FILE: Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta. Picture: AFP.

NAIROBI - More than 5,000 election observers have been accredited ahead of Kenya’s hotly contested polls next week.

The electoral commission says it’s the highest number of observers the country has ever had, a clear sign that all eyes will be on the East African economic giant.

South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki, Ghana’s former President John Mahama and former US Secretary of State John Kerry are all leading observer missions to Kenya.

Mbeki says this is a clear sign of the country's importance in the region and on the continent.

He heads the African Union's observer mission, the largest by far. More than 100 officials will be deployed to 47 counties.

Mbeki told them to immediately report any irregularities as Kenyans are hoping for free, fair and credible polls.

Political parties, meanwhile, are due to hold their final rallies this weekend, with the two front runners President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga expected to face off in the capital Nairobi.

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(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)