Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am David McAllister, Member of the European Parliament and it is my pleasure to have this opportunity to speak to you on behalf of our Delegation of 7 Members of the European Parliament.
Kenya is a crucial pillar of stability in East Africa and a source of inspiration on the African continent. As such this highly competitive and closely contested elections have drawn the attention regionally and of the wider international community.
The European Parliament – the only directly-elected body of the EU, representing 500 million European citizens – also followed these elections. During our stay in the country, we met with representatives of the political parties, the electoral commission, the judiciary, the media, religious leaders, civil society, and other international observation delegations and, of course, we observed the conduct of the elections.
First of all, I would like to align the European Parliament Delegation with the conclusions of the European Union Election Observation Mission. We fully endorse the findings presented by the Chief Observer, Ms Marietje Schaake.
Although Kenyan stakeholders have endeavoured to run a successful election, preparations for the elections have once again been challenging, conducted under very tight timelines and a source of contention. The lead up to the elections witnessed intimidation and even included the shocking murder of a leading official of the electoral commission. We strongly condemn such acts and those responsible should be prosecuted.
We commend the strong efforts of the IEBC and judiciary to work within the legal framework, uphold the rule of law and carry out their roles independently in this complex electoral environment. We fully support their role in the aftermath of election-day.
As always, Kenyans came out in large numbers on Election Day, demonstrating that every vote counts in a genuinely competitive contest with no certainty as to which party was going to win outright. We would also like to express our admiration of all Kenyans in the way they have acted with patience, determination and enthusiasm in peacefully exercising their democratic rights. We would also like to commend the transparency and commitment of the staff at the polling stations we visited.
The role of, and reliance on, technology in the election process was the focus of much pre-election anxiety and the focus of a high degree of scrutiny on election day. We urge candidates and parties to let the IEBC to carry out its work, to use the legally provided channels of dispute resolution in case of any dissatisfaction with the process and to urge their supporters to remain calm.
We have also seen that women in Kenya have participated in large numbers as voters and in the organisation of the elections. Their determination had to overcome substantial challenges including intimidation. We call upon all political parties to ensure that women’s participation in political life is enhanced in line with the Kenyan Constitution. We expect the new parliament to adopt legislation to ensure that the two-thirds gender principle is implemented. We also expect the new government to act accordingly by appointing women at local and national levels, including to the highest positions of leadership.
Having said this, I will not repeat the statement of the Chief Observer. Instead I would like to focus on the aftermath of the elections.
After such competitive elections, it is now time for Kenyan politicians to bring the people together and work towards an inclusive and socially cohesive society for all Kenyans. Political parties have an important responsibility in this process, including by becoming more programme and policy focussed, transparent in party management and financing, and overcoming their reliance on ethnic divisions.
Inclusiveness should also be pursued at all levels of governance including Presidential and Parliamentary. Devolved powers are especially important for achieving this and for bringing benefits closest to the people. We hope that the newly elected Governors will deliver upon the expectations of all citizens, by properly carrying out their enhanced responsibilities as set out in the Constitution.
In pursuing this future, you can fully rely on the European Parliament which is committed to supporting Kenya along its democratic path. We stand ready and look forward to further developing our relations soon after the elections.
Thank you for your attention!
For further information please contact:
Gerrard Quille, Secretariat European Parliament
Telephone: 0032473525072 or (until 10 August 00254740033304)