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EU Pushes for Kenya to Release Local Voting Results

  • Sora Halake

Electoral workers stand by ballot boxes stacked at a collection center in Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 9, 2017.

Kenyan electoral officials should release local result forms from last week's disputed presidential election, says the head of the European Union mission that monitored the vote.

More than a week after the election, Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has yet to release all the vote totals from individual polling stations and constituency-level tallying centers.

The issue has taken on urgency, as opposition leader Raila Odinga said the election was rigged to favor the official winner, President Uhuru Kenyatta, and the opposition is expected to file a challenge with the Supreme Court.

Marietje Schaake, chief observer of the European Union mission that monitored the vote, said the IEBC needs to act.

“We are still looking to get publicized all the official forms indicating the outcome per polling stations and per tallying center. So we are looking to the election commission for that,” she told VOA in a phone interview Thursday.

Schaake's mission said that releasing results forms at all levels would give Kenyans greater confidence in the election process.

"Online availability of the ... forms, would enable all stakeholders to examine the accuracy of the announced results and point to any possible anomalies. Provision of information and statistics would also help promote confidence through transparency,” the EU mission said in a statement this week.

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga, center, accompanied by party official Kalonzo Musyoka, right, announces they will challenge the results of the August 8 presidential election in the Supreme Court.
Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga, center, accompanied by party official Kalonzo Musyoka, right, announces they will challenge the results of the August 8 presidential election in the Supreme Court.


Timely release critical

The statement said the timely release of the information is critical, given that petitions relating to the presidential race must be filed within seven days of the results announcement. Friday marks one week since the IEBC announced election results.

Schaake said the EU mission cannot examine Odinga's allegations on its own.

“We as election observers are not investigators. We can’t look into all the systems and assess all the claims. What we can do is look at whether the Kenyan competent authorities are addressing these kinds of complaints or challenges properly,” she said.

However, she said the EU mission is concerned about possible intimidation of rights groups, two of which have had their licenses threatened by government bodies since the election.

“Those NGOs were very important in democratization in Kenya and they were seen as possible challengers of the result before the court," she said.

The official results showed Kenyatta defeating Odinga 54 percent to 45 percent in the August 8 election. The EU team and other observers have called on Kenyans to refrain from violence while the election process continues.

Political and ethnic violence after the disputed 2007 election killed some 1,100 Kenyans.

Schaake declined to say whether this year's election was credible but said, "Conceding gracefully is part of the democratic process. I believe in it."

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