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Seek legal redress, John Kerry tells Election losers

Carter field officer Don Bisson(left) and Former United state secretary of state John Kerry during a press conference at Nairobi hotel

European and American election observers yesterday urged Kenyans to avoid violence and told politicians dissatisfied with the election results to seek legal redress.

The observers also called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to independently verify all the forms 34A from all the polling stations.

This, they said, would help the commission establish the veracity of National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s claims that the IEBC database was hacked.

The European Union Election Observation Mission urged election losers to follow the laid down judicial process and avoid actions that could lead to violence.

At the same time, the Carter Centre Observer’s Group led by former US Secretary of State John Kerry and former Senegalese Prime Minister Aminata Toure separately asked contestants who have lost to follow the rule of law in pursuing justice.

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“We ask the contestants, those who win or lose, to follow the rule of law. Kenya has a robust judicial process. Those with issues and evidence should pursue that route. The streets do not provide a solution,” said Mr Kerry.

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He said although they had noticed some discrepancies, these would not affect the credibility of the election process.

Kerry also observed that the electronic transmission of polling station results to the 290 constituency tallying centres and to the national tallying centre had proved unreliable.

“While the data entry of the results from the KIEMS system transmitted successfully to the national tallying centre, the early display of these tallies was not substantiated by scanned copies of the polling station results forms for the presidential race,” he said.

Grievances expressed

Ms Toure said IEBC must listen to the grievances expressed by Raila and ensure that the results being relayed corresponded with those in forms 34A across the polling stations.

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“Agents of all parties have these forms 34A. Let them compare with what IEBC is announcing. Are there discrepancies? So far we have seen none. I know what it means to lose an election. However, you must move on. If it is Mr Kenyatta who loses, he must be prepared to cede power. If it’s Mr Odinga, he must be ready to accept,” said Toure.

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The two said they had listened to Raila’s concerns and urged the commission to act fast and address the issues.

However, the observers criticised Wiper leader and Raila running mate Kalonzo Musyoka for calling for calm and adding that his supporters would be urged to take to the streets if need be.

“We have listened to Odinga’s concerns and they deserve to be addressed. But you can’t have a leader saying to his supporters, ‘Remain calm but when required, we will call you to action.’ That doesn’t help,” said Toure.

She said Kenyans should be ready to go back to work without intimidation and must demand responsibility from their leaders.

While the observers gave a thumbs up for the manner in which IEBC handled the electoral process, Toure said the murder of ICT manager Chris Msando was brutal and the murderers must be brought to book.

“Our young African people must grow up in democracy and avoid violence. This election marked progress; better than previous elections,” she said.

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Marietje Schaake, Chief Observer of the EU, said even though the election was orderly, more must be done to maintain peace as the electoral commission strives to resolve issues of concern to candidates.

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Alleged manipulation

“As with all complaints regarding alleged ICT manipulation, the mission looks into them but more importantly, looks at how the responsible Kenyan authorities follow up and manage the issue,” she said.

She said IEBC must complete the remaining steps with maximum transparency and adherence to the law to ensure confidence in the process.

The mission also observed that the Kenyan election took place in a deeply polarised atmosphere, with a high number of cases in court.

She said IEBC, the Judiciary and other institutions were subject to attacks from candidates, revealing a fundamental lack of trust.

“Only through transparency, inclusive dialogue and a demonstrated commitment by all stakeholders can Kenya continue to overcome polarisation,” said Ms Schaake.

And David McAllister, head of the European Parliament delegation, said after such a competitive election, it was Kenyan politicians who could bring people together.

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The EU Mission deployed more than 30 observers to different parts of the country.

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