Kenya responds to ‘dishonest’ EU report on 2017 elections


The EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) Chief Observer, Ms. Marietje Schaake (Centre) PHOTO| COURTESY
The EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) Chief Observer, Ms. Marietje Schaake (Centre) PHOTO| COURTESY

The government has rubbished claims by the European Union Election Observation Mission that Kenya refused to receive the mission’s final report on the October 26, 2017 election.

In a statement released on Wednesday from Brussels, the EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) said the Kenyan government declined to receive its Chief Observer, Ms. Marietje Schaake, who was set to jet into the country to present the final report on last year’s election.

The EU EOM, which monitored last year’s election, claimed that despite agreeing with Kenya that it would release the report within three months, the government said it cannot receive Ms Schaake “at this time”.

“As previously agreed with the Kenyan authorities, the EU EOM has published its final report within three months of the 26th October election. 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,” said Ms Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament.

In a rejoinder, however, Kenya,  through its embassy in Brussels, termed as “dishonest” the claim that it declined to receive the EU EOM, adding that the release of the report in Belgium was done in a premature manner.

“Kenya regrets the unprocedural and premature manner in which the Final Report of the EU Election Observation Mission has been released by Hon. Marietje Schaake. Her action has breached the terms of Kenya’s Memorandum of Understanding on Election monitoring with the European Union,” read the statement.

In the report, the Mission noted that in last year’s repeat presidential election, there was “an improved performance by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), with a more transparent results process in October, but also a persistent lack of trust in the institution by the opposition and other stakeholders.”

The mission further pointed out that there was; “intimidation of independent institutions by politicians from across the political divide, use of force by the police, attempts at restricting civil society and media, and abuse of state resources by both sides but mostly to the benefit of the national incumbent”.

For better elections in 2022, the EU EOM made a number of recommendations including improving resilience of independent institutions, inclusive legal reform, improved ICT arrangements and IEBC oversight, a legal requirement for a comprehensive results framework, and a review of the electoral system to promote the participation of women and inclusivity.

“We hope the recommendations in our final report will contribute to more resilient democracy from which all Kenyans benefit. This takes time to build up, which is why it is important that steps are taken promptly to improve the legal framework, institutions and practices,” added Ms Schaake.

 

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