EU lauds IEBC’s plans for repeat presidential election

The European Union has called for dialogue and compromise ahead of the October 26 repeat presidential election, even as it lauded efforts by the electoral agency to right the wrongs identified in the annulled August 8 poll.

In a statement, the EU observer mission in Kenya warned that the political aggravation was not good for the country ahead of the polls.

The mission warned that the “no elections” call by the Raila Odinga-led National Super Alliance (Nasa) and the insistence by President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party to pass controversial amendments to electoral laws “are seriously damaging democratic functioning.”

“Worryingly, there is also concern that “no election” means Nasa supporters could obstruct polling and tallying,” the mission said.

This, the Marietje Schaake-led team said, was affecting the building of institutions.

DIALOGUE

 “Dialogue and cooperation are urgently needed for compromise so that there can be a peaceful electoral process with integrity and transparency and Kenyans can choose their president.”

The amendments, the mission said, were not required by the Supreme Court ruling and “their timing is not consistent with good practice for electoral law reform.”

The mission had developed 18 suggestions for reforms before the repeat poll, nine of which were concerning the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

In its assessment of the implementation of the suggestions, the mission said the IEBC had done well in nearly all of the nine recommendations.

“If implemented as planned, they will provide a foundation for an improved technical process, with stronger transparency and integrity measures,” the mission said.

The EU said it will continue observing the repeat poll with its 24-longtime observers currently serving in different parts of the country.

FOCUS

“Following the Supreme Court’s decision and detailed judgment, the EU mission will focus particularly on the results process, looking at integrity and transparency. A key part of transparency is that the IEBC be clear about any deficiencies, so any errors that occur can be seen and discussed with stakeholders,” the EU said.

The team also asked the government to provide security for the IEBC commissioners and staff.

On the nine things it had asked IEBC to do, the team said the commission had started regular stakeholder engagements, had developed a more detailed and transparent system for counting, tallying and transmission of results, and had ensured that the Forms 34A at the polling station would be sent through the Kiems kits.

The team also lauded efforts by the commission to project real-time entry of results at the constituency level, the proposed standardisation of results forms, and move by the commission to be fully in charge of its IT systems.

The team, however, regretted the fact that the IEBC may not conduct a simulation of the improved results transmission mechanism due to time constraints.

Raila accused of begging the West to force mediation talks.

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