Exercise restraint in demos, election observers urge police

Seth Onyango and Irene Githinjii @SethManex @gitshee

European and African Union election observation missions have urged the police to restrain from using excessive force against National Super Alliance (Nasa) protesters.

The election observation groups said it was imperative that the country’s security forces provide protection to all citizens regardless of their political affiliation. “We call for full accountability of the security agencies for all actions taken that result in injury or loss of life,” they said in a joint statement sent to newsrooms.

They, however, cautioned Kenyans against engaging in violent protests and running battles with the police. “We appreciate that the Constitution of Kenya guarantees the right to peaceful demonstration.

Citizens have a responsibility to uphold the law whilst exercising their rights,” read the statement in part.The statement signed by heads of seven international observation groups further stated: “We urge all Kenyans to refrain from unlawful acts and respect the rights of fellow citizens including polling staff, independent observers, and others who have any responsibility in the election process.”

The statement was issued by former South African president Thabo Mbeki for the African Union Election Observation Mission, former Zambian President Rupiah Banda (Commonwealth Observation Mission) and former Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament Edward Rugumayo (East African Community Election Observation Mission).

Other international observers include the European Union Election Observation Mission led by Marietje Schaake, Intergovernmental Authority on Development Election Observation Mission led by Ambassador Tewolde Gebremeskel and the Igad Director of Peace and Security Division.

The heads of the international observer missions also called for peace across the country as we await direction from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on when the exercise will be held in four counties in Nyanza that did not take part in Thursday’s poll.

Meanwhile, the Election Observation Group (Elog) said it noted some discrepancies during the repeat presidential poll. Elog said in 4.8 per cent of the polling stations, the electronic voter identification devices were not efficient and that in 28.8 per cent of polling stations observed, some people were not permitted to vote.

Elsewhere, a coalition of civil societies has raised concerns surrounding changes in the registered number of voters available in the electoral body’s website and the numbers that were streamed during transmittion of poll results.

The Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu (KYSY) coalition yesterday questioned the validity of the figures announced from various counties, saying the speed at which IEBC received the results was suspicious.

“Within one hour, the IEBC had posted 516 forms. Within two hours, it had posted 8,830 forms, which is 22 per cent of all 40,883 result forms. At 8pm, three hours after polls had closed, 16,264 or 40 per cent of all forms had been posted.

This implies that presiding officers were able to close the polling stations, complete the administrative procedures related to securing materials, count and tally votes, announce results and scan requisite forms in 15 minutes,” the statement read in part.” KYSY had deployed at least 2,000 observers across 44 counties, who were responsible for monitoring the voting processes and transmitting photos of posted Forms 34A and 34B.

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