Kenya's gov't 'unhappy' with presentation of European Union election report

Joann Johnston
January 13, 2018

The report was scathing in its criticism and, unusually, was launched in Brussels, rather than in the country where the election was held.

European Union chief observer Marietje Schaake said that she was forced to read the report from their parliament so as to meet guidelines for presenting a report three months after an election.

She also included 29 recommendations for improving future elections.

However, the report immediately sparked controversy.

It is very rare, Schaake said, for European Union election missions not to return to the host country to present their conclusions, she said, recalling only a handful of times in more than 150 such missions. "Schaake", he said in a statement.

However, the Kenyan embassy in Brussels said it regrets the "premature manner" in which the report was released.

But Mr Weru called Ms Schaake's actions "unprocedural and premature", saying it was she who had gone against the MoU between Kenya and the EU.

He stated that in the latest communication, it had been agreed that the Mission come to the country between February and March and pointed out that Schaake has personalised a tool used to improve electoral management.

She castigated the political leaders for disrespecting independent offices and misuse of public resources.

In the report, the Mission noted that in last year's repeat presidential election, there was "an improved performance by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), with a more transparent results process in October, but also a persistent lack of trust in the institution by the opposition and other stakeholders".

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It also accuses Jubilee leaders of "harsh rhetoric against the Judiciary" and "intimidation of civil society", both of which were "not consistent with worldwide commitments and good practice for democratic functioning".

"These were highly antagonistic and not consistent with global commitments and good practice for democratic functioning", stated EU.

The report also cited violence by opposition protesters and the use of disproportionate force by security forces.

The report also noted incidences of sexual violence.

The observers noted that in Nyanza there were severe obstructions and violence, resulting in the IEBC declaring indefinite postponement of polling in 25 constituencies (out of a national total of 290).

The aftermath of the October 26 poll was also particularly tense after NASA front runner Raila Odinga said the People's Assembly would swear him in as president based on the August 8 poll in which the opposition claimed he won but his victory stolen. The Supreme Court nullified the first presidential election over irregularities. "However, the political environment deteriorated sharply", Schaake said.

"We've understood that the Kenyan Government is not prepared to receive us within the terms foreseen in the memorandum of understanding signed between the European Union and Kenya; because that specifies that we will present our final report within three months of the Election Day", she said.

"Jubilee's unilateral memos on electoral legislation during the fresh election, harsh rhetoric against the Judiciary and intimidation of civil society were highly antagonistic and not consistent with democracy", she said. Kenya remains deeply divided.

"Our final report and recommendations are meant to contribute to a better democratic process and a restoration of trust".

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