EU CALLS FOR URGENT POLITICAL TALKS IN KENYA TO RESOLVE IMPASSE AFTER RE-RUN OF PRESIDENTIAL POLL

NAIROBI, The European Union (EU) electoral observer mission in Kenya has called on leaders in the East African nation to enter into political dialogue to resolve the impasse following last Thursday’s controversial election re-run which was ordered by the Supreme Court.

“More than ever there is a need in Kenya for political leaders to take up their responsibility and find a way out of the impasse through direct talks at the highest level,” the mission said in its preliminary statement on the Oct 26 fresh presidential elections.

“Grievances over the electoral processes should be addressed through judicial channels for legally-mandated remedy. The courts and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should be given full opportunity to work independently and without undue pressure,” the observers said.

EU Chief Observer Marietje Schaake said actions by rival sides have put Kenya in an extremely difficult position. “These include attacks on the judiciary as well as the IEBC, the introduction of changes to the legal framework without consensus, obstruction of the electoral process and officials, and some disproportionate actions by the security forces,” Schaake said.

The EU said despite these problems, polling and counting appeared to be generally well administered and some technical improvements were evident in the results compiling and reporting process although further assessment is still needed.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati on Thursday announced incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the fresh poll after he garnered 98.3 per cent of the total votes cast, against his National Super Alliance (NASA) rival Raila Odinga’s 1.0 per cent. Odinga who withdrew from the race had rallied his supporters to boycott the repeat election, which was marred by low turnout and violent protests in opposition strongholds.

Schaake also called on security agencies to be fully accountable, including by providing public information on forces deployed and actions taken. “There should be independent investigation into their actions and any casualties, with information made public on subsequent measures taken,” she said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK