Sunday, 16 December, 2018


State criticises European Union report on polls, claims it is 'premature'

NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga at the All Saints Cathedral during a meeting with ACK leaders NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga at the All Saints Cathedral during a meeting with ACK leaders
Hannah Rogers | 13 January, 2018, 01:40

"The government of Kenya regrets the unprocedural and premature manner in which the final report of the EU Election Observations Mission has been released by Hon Marietje Schaake".

"Her actions are disdainful and condescending, and offend the multilateral understanding under Article 8 and 96 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between European Union and 79 countries", he said in a statement.

The EU was among foreign observer missions that deployed personnel to monitor August 8 and October 26, 2017 repeat presidential polls in Kenya.

"The Kenyan people, including five million young people able to vote for the first time, showed eagerness to participate in shaping the future of their country", Schaake said.

"The report was released in Brussels after the Kenyan government stated it was not prepared to receive the chief observer in Nairobi at this time", she said in a televised briefing in Brussels. "Our final report and recommendations are meant to contribute to a better democratic process and a restoration of trust", she said.

"We were entirely prepared to travel to Nairobi this week to present the final report of our recommendations to the government of Kenya as well as to other important stakeholders, of course the most important being the people of Kenya". And, in an interview with the Financial Times, she said Kenyan officials wanted the release postponed.

The bad blood continued on Wednesday with Kenya's ambassador to Belgium and the EU, Johnson Weru, accusing Schaake of issuing the report ahead of schedule and of "contemptuous political grandstanding".

In Mr Weru's view, Ms Schaake's "rushed" release was a betrayal.

According to a report by Daily Nation on Wednesday, January 10, Schaake also noted that there were instances of violence in the country that prevented Kenyans from enjoying their democratic rights.

In its final report on both polls, the European Union made 29 recommendations that Kenya should adopt in order to improve electoral management and avert a political crisis that accompanies disputed poll results.

The observers question a long-held requirement that people aspiring to be leaders need not be bankrupt.

"State resources were abused by the incumbents that were used to their advantage during the campaign", Schaake said. During the 141 rallies watched by observers, 27 instances of misuse of state resources in 16 counties were witnessed. "This primarily concerned the use of official county and national government vehicles to and from campaign events, including one military helicopter in Makueni County".

An electronic system for transmitting and tallying results was supposed to improve transparency after two previous disputed presidential elections, but instead the technology fuelled opposition suspicions of fraud.

She said Nasa supporters "assaulted and intimidated polling staff, attacked the IEBC offices and disrupted electoral preparations".

The team also wants timelines for prosecuting electoral offences shortened and a ceiling placed on how long disputes from nominations should last.

Jubilee was criticised for unilateral amendments to electoral legislation during the fresh election, harsh rhetoric against the judiciary and acts of intimidation against civil society.

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