EU CALLS FOR DIALOGUE TO DEFUSE KENYA’S CURRENT POLITICAL TENSION

NAIROBI, A European Union elections observer mission here to monitor Kenya’s Oct 26 fresh presidential election ordered by the country’s Supreme Court has warned that the current political tension in the country risks igniting ethnic divisions if dialogue is not given a chance.

The mission has also cautioned that the current standoff and uncertainty threatens to impair the electoral processes which can easily plunge Kenya into chaos. The observers on Monday called for dialogue and co-operation to ensure a peaceful electoral process.

It noted that “the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is responsible for organizing the electoral process, but multiple actors are responsible for its success and compliance with the Constitution”.

The Aug 8 presidential election results were annulled by the Supreme Court which ordered the fresh polls, which pits incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta against Natioanl Super Alliance (NASA) candidate Raila Odinga, who petitioned the court to annul the results but who now says he will not participate in the fresh polls until his demands for reformation of the IEBC are met.

The EU observers said in a statement here Monday that political aggravation had resulted in a stand-off and uncertainty and risked exacerbating ethnic tensions. Dialogue and co-operation are urgently needed for compromises to be made so there can be a peaceful electoral process with integrity and transparency and Kenyans can choose their President, the observer mission stated.

The Observer Mission’s Chief Observer, Marietje Schaake, lauded the IEBC’s efforts at adopting the observers’ recommendations on electoral administration but admitted that a lot still needs to be done to rebuild trust in the institution, and she called for better and timely communications with the public by the IEBC.

The EU EOM has seen that some positive measures were taken by the IEBC in regards to nearly all of the nine recommendations relating to electoral administration. If implemented as planned, these provide a foundation for an improved electoral organization, with stronger transparency and integrity measures, particularly for results transmission and tallying, Schaake noted.

In the remaining days before the election there is still a lot of work to be done if trust is to be rebuilt. That includes better and more timely information for the public and pilot testing of procedures and technologies.

The mission is observing the polls with a team in Nairobi and 24 long-term observers currently deployed across the country.

It will release a full final report with future recommendations two months after completion of the entire electoral process.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK