Press release: Democratic commitment demonstrated by the people of Kenya, despite parties’ forceful criticism of key institutions
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Press release: Democratic commitment demonstrated by the people of Kenya, despite parties’ forceful criticism of key institutions

Marietje Schaake, Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Kenya 2017 and Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands, described the general elections held on Tuesday 8 August as orderly and calm after a heated and competitive campaign. She commended Kenyans for showing determination to vote and shape their nation’s future. Election staff, candidate agents and voters showed strong commitment and patience on August 8th.

The EU EOM Chief Observer noted, “Kenyans can be proud of their participation in the democratic process and should continue following the rule of law throughout the results process. Candidates and their supporters must accept that not winning is a natural part of a democratic competition. Any irregularities or challenges to the process and outcomes should be addressed through petitions and the courts. All Kenyans benefit from strengthening Kenya’s democracy.”

The EU EOM has learned of the National Super Alliance (NASA) complaint regarding alleged ICT manipulations through hacking. These are serious allegations that need serious scrutiny. As with all complaints received by an EU EOM, the mission looks into them, but more importantly looks at how the responsible Kenyan authorities follow up and manage the issue. In this respect, it will be up to the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to complete the remaining steps with maximum transparency and adherence to the law so as to ensure confidence in the process.

Schaake commented further, “The election took place in a deeply polarised atmosphere and saw a high number of cases brought before court. The IEBC, the judiciary and other institutions were subject to attacks from candidates, revealing a fundamental lack of trust. Such a lack of trust cannot be substituted by the use of election technology. Only through transparency, inclusive dialogue, and a demonstrated commitment by all stakeholders, can Kenya continue to overcome polarisation.”

The IEBC appointed last January had little time to prepare and had to implement a lot of new technology and other measures. They were also faced with the gruesome death of colleague Chris Msando. The IEBC showed resilience and commitment to holding the elections on time, but it struggled at times to consult and communicate fully and was late with finalising procedures. It now needs time to conclude the electoral process transparently through tallying results forms at constituencies as required by the law.

David McAllister, Head of the European Parliament delegation commented, „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. As parliamentarians, we know that political parties have an important responsibility in this process.“

The EU EOM deployed over 130 observers to different parts of Kenya to observe election day activities, including voting, counting and the tallying of the results. Observers come from all 28 Member States of the EU, as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland. The EU EOM will continue observing the process independently and impartially, including the phases of tabulation of results and treatment of appeals until after the proclamation of the final results. A final report with recommendations will be released some two months after the process.

For further information, please contact the press officer of the EU EOM Kenya 2017:
Paul Anderson,
Press and Public Outreach Officer,
EU Election Observation Mission Kenya 2017 + 254 0740 033217