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Commonwealth Says Kenya Elections Failed to Meet International Standards


The Commonwealth Observer Group for the 2007 general elections in Kenya has issued its verdict on the December 27 poll. As Tendai Maphosa reports from London it joins other observer groups in concluding the elections failed to meet international standards.

The Commonwealth Group has become the latest observer to conclude the Kenyan elections fell short of international standards.

The Commonwealth says it considered the process credible up to polling day, but the Electoral Commission of Kenya did not succeed in establishing the integrity of the tallying process.

The report says it became obvious much improved measures are needed to ensure the timely release of valid election results. It also stressed the need to improve the system of communication between the Electoral Commission headquarters and the field.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon expressed dismay at the violence that followed the elections. He said he had spoken to President Mwai Kibaki and opposition candidate Raila Odinga to express his distress at the loss of life and destruction of property.

He added the Commonwealth remains fully engaged and will support ongoing mediation efforts.

Commonwealth Director of Communications and Public Affairs Eduardo del Buey also emphasized this.

"We have people there now who are discussing the situation with the government and the opposition. There are a number of different African interlocutors and what we are looking for is an African solution, we do not feel anybody should impose," said del Buey. "We feel there should be a dialogue between the Kenyan government and the opposition to come to and agreement of some kind."

The report made several recommendations, among which are an amendment to the law to require rulings on election petitions within a specified time. It also called for the introduction of a legal process that would ensure that election disputes are concluded before the inauguration of newly-elected officials.

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