The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) on Wednesday released a report on the 2017 elections in Kenya and observed that the high hopes Kenyans had for the elections turned into massive disappointments and confrontations.
“The Kenyan people, including five million young people able to vote for the first time, showed eagerness to participate in shaping the future of their country. However, the electoral process was damaged by political leaders attacking independent institutions and by a lack of dialogue between the two sides, with escalating disputes and violence,” the report observes.
“Kenyans went from high hopes for these elections to many disappointments and confrontations. Kenya remains deeply divided. Our final report and recommendations are intended to contribute to a better democratic process and a restoration of trust. But with every recommendation, leadership from those in power, support from the population, and cooperation between different fractions are needed in order to initiate reforms.” said Chief Observer, Ms Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands.
The EU EOM final report on 2017 Kenya elections particularly highlights issues such as a persistent lack of trust in the IEBC and the murder of IEBC ICT manager Chris Msando as some of the reasons that contributed to public mistrust in the electoral process.
“Despite efforts to improve the situation, there was a persistent lack of trust in the IEBC by the opposition and other stakeholders, demonstrating the need for greater independence and accountability as well as for sustained communication and more meaningful stakeholder consultation,” the EU EOM final report reads in part.
OCTOBER REPEAT POLL MORE TRANSPARENT
The EOM report, however, observes that the October 26 repeat presidential poll was better administered compared to the August general election in terms of transparency.
“The fresh presidential election in October was generally well conducted, with full results data and forms made available promptly,”
EU RECOMMENDATIONS ON FUTURE ELECTIONS
The EU Election Observation Mission report further offers 29 recommendations for future election reforms.
The EU recommends that; Actions be taken to strengthen the resilience of constitutionally independent institutions involved in elections; The parliament undertake a process of electoral legal reform on a cross-party basis well in advance of the next elections; The IEBC’s independence and accountability be strengthened; The IEBC have ICT arrangements that are tried and tested; secure and publicly accountable. Legal requirements are made for a comprehensive results transmission framework and for Parliament to promptly review the electoral system and its impact on the political participation of women and inclusivity in a broader sense, and reform as appropriate.