The African Electoral Observation Group has deployed 489 observers to monitor the October 26 Presidential election in Kenya.
Among them, a special team will monitor the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials.
In a statement, the noted that IEBC is still capable of conducting a “free, fair and credible” election provided that politicians do not interfere with its work.
“We note that in the last 60 days, the commission has suffered immense attacks and has become the main issue leading to the polls. It has been an exploitation of its real and manufactured weaknesses with the main objective of completely obstructing and scuttling the election body and election management,” according to the statement.
It is signed by Robert Fousler, the head of delegation, and Ola Thomas Olufemi, the chief of mission.
“It is in keeping with our electoral observation mandate for August 8 election that we note that IEBC remains intact and capable of conducting a free, fair and credible election. We have also observed immense violent attacks on logistical, deployment and personnel preparations for the election in the counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori,” they said.
“These are actions perpetrated by specific political players in the election. This has led to intimidation and obstruction of a constitutionally mandated process and a gross violation of human rights,” the statement said.
It comes at a time police have been heavily deployment for the election, especially in areas deemed electoral .
Police spokesman George Kinoti said due to the prevailing political situation, new threats have been identified and fresh hotspots mapped out.
He said officers will now be on lookout for attack on voters, people preventing others from voting, blocking roads to polling stations and attack on election officials.
Other offences include preventing transportation of voting materials as well as rioting and destruction of government and private property.
“Notwithstanding the attacks on the institution, we have observed that preparations for the elections continue smoothly in the other 43 counties and promise a smooth, free, fair and credible election. It is our finding that all obstruction currently underway by specific players within the election is mischievous and aimed at ensuring that Kenya does not have a free, fair and credible election,” the observers added.
They also noted that those found culpable of interfering with the election should be charged in accordance with The Elections Act and the Penal Code.
“Inasmuch as several actors can call to the fairness and credibility of an election process before the fact, only a court of competent jurisdiction can effectively pronounce itself on such a matter,” the statement said.
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