Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Commonwealth Observer Group Press Release
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SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: COMMONWEALTH OBSERVER GROUP PRESS RELEASE
1. The Commonwealth Observer Group issued the following Statement by
Chairperson of teh Commonwealth Observer Group on December 31, 2007.
Commonwealth Observer Group
Kenya General Elections, 27 December 2007
Statement by HE Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, former President of Sierra
Chairperson of the Commowealth Observer Group for Kenya Elections:
A number of leaders I have met in Kenya who play important roles in
the society are concerned about the deteriorating situation which
has resulted in the loss of life and property in some parts of the
country. In my interaction with them, they spoke with one voice in
support of the following:
-Leaders of political parties should meet immediately and publicly
call for calm.
-The rule of law must be respected.
-ECK is the only body constitutionally mandated to announce election
-Those who are aggrieved should appeal through the courts of law
-Electoral petitions should be dealt with in an expeditious manner,
possibly with regional and international assistance.
I therefore join them in appealing to all Kenyans to maintain the
peace for stability in the country.
31 December 2007
2. The Commonwealth Observer Group issed the following Interim
Statement on December 29, 2007.
COMMONWEALTH OBSERVER GROUP
Kenya General Election
27 December 2007
Interim Statement by H.E. Dr Ahmad Tejlln Kabbah,
Chairperson, Commonwealth Observer Group
29 December 2007
Following our arrival in Nairobi. Our observers were briefed by
various stakeholders: including the Electoral Commission of Kenya
(ECK), major political parties, civil society as well as domestic
and international observers. We then deployed around the country on
23 December 2007 and have now returned to Nairobi. We met and
exchanged views with District Election Coordinators, the police,
local p~ officials, and other observers. We were able to observe the
campaigns, the final preparations prior to polling day, the polls,
the count and the tallying process.
We are grateful to the people of Kenya for their welcome, the
openness with which they interacted with us and their willingness to
learn and share experiences.
We note that these elections were the most competitive in the
We commend the people of Kenya for their enthusiasm, patience and
determination to perform their civic responsibility by turning out
in their large numbers at various polling stations, in. most cases
from very early in the morning. This illustrates the eagerness of
Kenyans to exercise their democratic rights and contribute to the
growth of Kenya's democracy. We congratulate them for their peaceful
and orderly conduct during the polls and are confident that this
will further strengthen and deepen democratic culture in Kenya.
Thus far, we are impressed by the professionalism and commitment
exhibited by the officials of the Electoral Commission of Kenya
(ECK) in the process. The successful conduct of the poll is a credit
to their planning and organizational skills. It is our hope that the
electoral process will conclude in the same manner.
We observed that, to a very large extent, procedures outlined by the
ECK for polling were adhered to. There were, however, aspects that
did not meet the prescribed guidelines. These include:
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-Confusion about how the ECK disaggregated the names on the voters'
register for the streams in each polling centre;
-In any election. The secrecy of the ballot is sacrosanct. We were
therefore concerned at the improper assistance to illiterate voters
which compromised the privacy of the voter and the confidentiality
of the vote;
-some polling clerks did not adhere to the requirement of loudly
calling out names of voters;
-properly identifying ECK officials and other authorized persons at
polling stations because they did not have conspicuous
We also noted that a number of logistical problems resulted in the
late opening of some polling stations and thus delayed the start of
the voting process. The initiative of the ECK to extend the polling
hours in the polling stations that opened late is to be commended
and we were pleased to note that voters who remained in the queue
were able to east their ballots.
We were informed that this election would be greatly influenced by
ethnic considerations. If so, this would be a disturbing trend that
should be addressed to ensure national cohesion and peaceful
The failure by the state funded Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC)
to provide balanced coverage to different parties, as required by
law, was a matter of concern to us.
We were also concerned at the reported use of state resources for
party political purposes.
While we note that for the first time in the country's history, over
100 women were candidates in these elections, we would however
encourage the Government and political parties to initiate measures
aimed at increasing women's participation in the political process,
in order to strengthen their representation at all levels of
Prior to the polling, there were reports of: politically-related
violence, particularly those directed against women, which
threatened the polls. We are however pleased that the Election Day
was conducted in an orderly and peaceful a1mosphere.
We are now in the process of compiling our full report which will
contain details of our findings, conclusions and recommendations. We
will issue a statement prior to our departure from Kenya on 1
While we have expressed concerns about certain issues mentioned
above, it is our judgment, as expressed in this Interim Statement,
that the election process so far is credible.
As Kenyan await the fmal result, which have been very slow to be
concluded, we urge everyone to maintain please during this crucial
phase" of tbe electoral process and ask party leaders and their
supporters to accept the outcome of the elections.
29 December 2007