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September 21, 2017

Reform election processes before October vote, EU observers tell IEBC

European Union Chief Observer Marietje Schaake during a press conference at a Nairobi Hotel. /MONICAH MWANGI
European Union Chief Observer Marietje Schaake during a press conference at a Nairobi Hotel. /MONICAH MWANGI

European Union election observers have asked the IEBC to reform its poll processes before the October 17 vote.

They asked the poll agency to develop more detailed and transparent procedures for counting ballots and transmitting results.

Chief Observer Marietje Schaake said this should include unveiling complementary mechanisms for use in case of technology failure.

The observer team also asked the commission to ensure it conducts regular and meaningful stakeholder consultations.

Schaake further rooted for frequent comprehensive public communication targeting political contenders, state agencies, and the media.

Her team also wants the electoral commission to improve the results transmission software and network selection provision.

Schaake said this should be done in a way that forms 34A are reliably sent through KIEMS.

"Let IEBC arrange for constituency tallying centres to project and display the real-time entering of data on forms 34B by ICT clerks," she said in a statement on Thursday.

"This will be so that all agents and observers can see what exactly is being tallied."

She said the agency will deploy long and short-term observers across the country before, during and after election day.

'IEBC REFORMS A MUST'

The observers say the suggestions are intended to support the process that will see Kenyans political rights fulfilled.

"Standardise forms 34Bs, complete with security features, and take necessary measures for their consistent and accurate use by returning officers."

Schaake also proposed that the IEBC own and be fully responsible for critical ICT results systems and information and allow controlled stakeholder access.

The fresh election pits President Uhuru Kenyatta against his arch competitor Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance.

Schaake, whose team observed last month's election from June, said voting procedures during the August 8 polls were generally well implemented.

"However, there was a delay in development of final procedures for the high technology aspects of the election," she said.

The observer mission asked parties to ensure they have agents in each tallying centre and polling station to check results accordingly.

While calling for respect for institutions, they asked for thorough investigations into alleged electoral offences for the prosecution of culpable IEBC staff.

NASA has already resolved to institute private criminal prosecution of election agency officials accused of bungling the August vote.

Schaake also wants the government to provide full security for IEBC commissioners and staff.

On the media, she has proposed live coverage of constituency tallying centres to enhance the transparency of the results tallying process.

Read: Nullified polls cast doubt on election observer missions

Also read: Kenya election was fair, no sign of manipulation - EAC, EU observers

The report echoed NASA’s concerns that there must be reforms at IEBC and action taken against the officers involved in the poll rigging.

"We demand concerns raised by the chairman (Wafula) Chebukati in the internal memo addressed," said NASA Chief Raila Odinga on Monday in Kibera.

But Jubilee through the Deputy President William Ruto has insisted the country does not have enough time for reforms.

More on vote: You belong in jail, Raila tells 'shameful' UhuRuto after Chebukati memo

Also read: 'No October poll until Chiloba is out': NASA gives IEBC nine fresh demands

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