Judy Akuma @PeopleDailyKe
Dangerous political standoff, uncontested election and assault on independent institutions tainted Kenya’s democratic credential, European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) has said.
In a preliminary statement on fresh presidential election released yesterday, EU EOM, said actions by both sides of the political divide have been damaging to the electoral process and have put the people and institutions of Kenya in an extremely difficult position.
Some of the actions the observers cited include: intimidation of the Judiciary, attacks on the electoral commission, introducing uncertainty in the legal framework with last-minute amendments to the electoral laws without political consensus, obstruction of the electoral process, some disproportionate actions by the security forces and shrinking space for civil society.
They also pointed at weaknesses of the IEBC, including pronounced infighting, further contributed to uncertainty and agitation. The mission now wants the IEBC promptly publish information on the number of voters in each polling station who were identified bio-metrically, alphanumerically and by the manual complementary mechanism for scrutiny.
Despite these problems the observers said during election, polling and counting appeared to be generally well administered and some technical improvements were evident in the results process. However, they attributed the low voter turnout in the October 26 exercise to the move by the opposition Nasa to boycott the election as well as its supporters blocking the electoral process in some counties and attacks on electoral staff and citizen.
They have called for urgent dialogue between the two sides, for institutions to be given the space and security to work with full independence, and for grievances to be addressed through democratic and judicial channels. “More than ever, political leaders need to find a way out of the current impasse and ensure long-term electoral reforms,” said EU EOM chief observer Marietje Schaake (pictured).