Nairobi, Kenya : The IGAD Election Observation Mission (EOM) that was deployed to observe the general elections held in the Republic of Kenya on 8th August 2017 has concluded its mission successfully.
This is a press statement of the IGAD EOM and covers the mission’s summary observations from the date of arrival, 3rd August 2017 until the closing and counting processes on 8th August 2017.
Members of the EOM include 18 participants from IGAD led by Amb. Tewolde Gebremeskel, Director of the Peace and Security Division, who is the Head and Spokesperson of the EOM.
IGAD’s mandate include the promotion of democracy, good governance as well as free and fair elections as some of the main elements contributing to the enhancement of peace, security and stability in the region.
The overall objective of the Mission therefore, was to observe the Republic of Kenya, a founding member of IGAD, in its efforts to conduct free, fair and credible elections by providing constructive feedback. It is also part of IGAD’s broader aims to facilitate the development of a democratic culture in the region that helps avert conflicts related to election disputes.
The Observer Mission met with relevant Kenyan government and IEBC officials and other stakeholders and was briefed on the status of preparation and reassured on their preparedness to conduct the election.
On Election Day, members of the IGAD EOM were organized in three teams of observers and deployed to different polling centers in Nairobi County to observe the election.
The teams observed the poll opening, polling, poll closing and vote, counting and tallying of the election processes on 8th August 2017.
The EOM was able to visit 88 polling stations in Nairobi County and observed the following:
Polling stations were ready at 06:00 AM and opened on time and in accordance with the laws of Kenya;
Election materials were adequately distributed on time and in sufficient quantity in all the observed polling centers;
Electoral officials demonstrated sufficient understanding of their roles and responsibilities;All polling stations observed were attended by political parties’ and independent candidates agents, and observers;
The voter turnout was high throughout the day and voters demonstrated calm and patience in long queues at many polling stations ;Adequate security presence was noticed at all observed polling stations;
Vulnerable, elderly and disabled were supported in their polling process;
The polling centers and polling stations were laid out in a manner that allowed easy flow of voters;
The Kenyan Integrated Election Management System in use at polling stations was operational;
The counting process and no incidents of disruption were observed;
Strong presence and participation of women as organizers and as voters.
Youth participation was also noticeable in the electoral process serving as polling officers, local observers and voters.
The colors of the ballot boxes in relation to the ballot papers proved to be confusing to some voters.
A comprehensive report with the detailed observations and recommendations will be submitted to the relevant authorities for the improvement of future similar processes. CONCLUSION
IGAD EOM has observed the process of the opening of polling stations, the tallying and counting at the same polling stations of the presidential vote.
Based on what it has been able to observe, the IGAD EOM preliminary conclusion is that the general elections were conducted in a peaceful, orderly, and transparent manner and in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Kenya.
IGAD calls on all political parties and candidates to respect the will of the people of Kenya and to refrain from any act that might be of disruptive nature to the peace and stability of the country.
IGAD wishes to take this opportunity to express its gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Trade and the IEBC as well as the media for the assistance rendered to the EOM.
Finally, the EOM would like to congratulate the people of the Republic of Kenya for a successful democratic exercise.
Source: Inter Governmental Authority on Development