In Summary

• Observers said the only way Kenyans can be assured of a free and transparent exercise is for the House to exhaustively deal with the matter.

• They want IEBC to develop and provide a clear methodology with appropriate safeguards on collation, transmission and declaration of results.

 

Parliament has been asked to urgently address the issue of pending electoral laws to avert confusion, fears and suspicion of attempts to manipulate the election process.

A group of international observers said on Friday the only way Kenyans can be assured of a free and transparent exercise is for the House to exhaustively deal with the matter. The observers are in the country on a pre-election assessment mission.

“Parliament should either expedite their review or state that no further reforms will be entertained prior to the August 9 poll,” the statement read.

The observers suggested that IEBC develop and provide a clear methodology with appropriate safeguards on collation, transmission and declaration of results, to build trust among the electorate.

“The history of disputed elections in the country continues to cast public doubts about IEBC’s ability to conduct elections in a transparent and competent manner. A number of reforms to address it remain stalled in the legislature,” Yomi Jacobs, the resident programme director of International Republican Institute, said.

Others in the mission include acting US National Democratic Institute vice president Nicole Rowsell, Electoral Commission of Ghana chairperson Jean Mensa and Sierra Leone’s National Election Watch national coordinator James Lahai.

The team spoke in Nairobi.

They recommended that the electoral agency conduct a nationwide pilot of the integrated electoral management system (Kiems) to identify gaps and plan alternatives ahead of August.

 The team is calling on IEBC to collaborate with the Communications Authority in conducting a feasibility study to identify gaps.

The observers asked the National Police Service to release plans for election deployments, including protocols to enhance respect for human rights.

The media, civil society and religious leaders have also been urged to play their roles effectively, including educating the public.

Commending political parties for conducting a “well-administered” nomination exercise, the observers said there were about 150 complaints filed, unlike in 2017 where there were more than 300.

The team is set to carry out a second pre-election assessment to check on the progress made ahead of August.

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