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Cablegate: Kenya Elections: East African Community Observation Mission

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 NAIROBI 000136

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM KPAO PGOV PREL KE
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY OBSERVATION MISSION

REPORT

1. On Saturday, January 12 the East African Community Observer
Mission
issued the following report on the Kenyan General Elections.

Begin text:

THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY OBSERVER MISSION REPORT KENYA GENERAL
ELECTIONS DECEMBER 2007

INTRODUCTION
------------

The following is the East African Community?s Observer Mission
Report
covering the period immediately before the election, the polling day

and the post election period.

The East African Community Observer Mission (the Mission) undertook
the
task pursuant to:
-Article 3 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African
Community (Treaty) which requires ??adherence to universally
acceptable
principles of good governance democracy, the rule of law, observance
of
human rights and social justice?.?
-Article 5(1) of the Treaty which provides for, ??widening and
deepening cooperation among the Partner States in political,
economic,
social and cultural fields, research and technology, defence,
security
and legal and judicial affairs, for their mutual benefit.?

Further, the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) extended an
invitation
to the East African Community (EAC) in accordance with Regulation
45(1)
of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act 2002

which provides that, ??the Electoral Commission may, at any
election,
accredit any individual, association, organisation or institution
who
or which is manifestly non-partisan to act as election observers??

OBJECTIVES
----------
The objectives for which the Mission was deployed are as follows:
To ascertain whether the elections were free and fair and conform to

principles of good governance and democracy in the region; To look
out
for best electoral practices that could be emulated in the region;
and
to widen and deepen cooperation between Partner States in socio-
economic and political Affairs.

COMPOSITION OF THE MISSION
--------------------------


The Mission consisted of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA)
Members from Uganda and Tanzania as well as professional staff from
the
EAC Secretariat. The exclusion of Kenyan EALA Members is consistent

with adopted practice that Members of the Mission should not
participate in election observations in their own countries. The
following are members of the Mission: NOTE: Names deleted for
Brevity.

DEPLOYMENT
----------

The Mission deployed in all the eight provinces of the country. It
is
worth noting that the Mission could not deploy in all the districts
in
all the eight provinces because of logistical constraints. The
Mission?s liaison with other observer teams made it possible to have

NAIROBI 00000136 002 OF 005


a
more comprehensive picture of the electoral process.

METHODOLOGY
-----------

The Mission employed various methods in its work, including but not

limited to:

Literature review; Review of media reports-radio, print and
electronic;
Meetings and interactions with various stakeholders; Attending
briefings by the Electoral Commission of Kenya; Attending political

campaign rallies; Focus Group Discussions with different
stakeholders;
Face to face interviews; Use of questionnaires.

PRE- POLLING DAY OBSERVATIONS
-----------------------------

Generally a relatively calm environment prevailed despite some
isolated
incidences of violence some of which resulted in loss of life and
destruction of property.
-High voter registration as evidenced by the ECK statistics.
-Extensive coverage of the electoral process by both public and
private
local media as well as regional and international ones.
-Campaign rallies attended by the Mission were largely peaceful.
-Political parties adhered to regulations regarding the conclusion
of
election campaigns.
-The political parties exhibited varying states of un-preparedness
triggered off by re-alignment of political parties and party
affiliation during the primaries.
-Persistent reports of allegations of abuse of public resources by
the
ruling party during the campaigns.
-A pervasive atmosphere of suspicion of possible vote rigging.
-To the disadvantage of some presidential candidates; the public
media
covered only three of the nine presidential contestants.
-There were incidences of political intimidation at various polling

stations throughout the country.
-The constitutional provision that requires a presidential candidate
to
also win a parliamentary seat, inter alia, caused serious tension
and
anxiety in Lang?ata.

POLLING DAY OBSERVATIONS
------------------------

-High voter turn out and few registered cases of spoilt and rejected

ballots indicated sufficient civic and voter education.
-Timely dispatch of voting materials, and sufficient presence of
electoral staff at the Polling stations facilitated an orderly
voting
exercise.
-Commendable efforts were made to extend assistance to special
groups,
including mothers with children, pregnant mothers, the disabled, the

elderly and the illiterate.
-The ECK officials exhibited good conduct throughout the voting
process.
-The availability of a Black Book was very useful in cases where
voters? names were missing in voter register.
-Electoral Observers received cooperation by all the stakeholders
including the Electoral Commission, political parties and the
voters;
-There was good cooperation among party agents at the polling
stations.
-The polling day activities were extensively covered by local,
regional
and international media;
-Electoral officials appeared to be conversant with rules of
procedures
on closing and counting;

NAIROBI 00000136 003 OF 005


-Counting took place openly in the presence of candidates? agents,
observers and monitors
-The Mission noted that women were fairly represented in the ECK

structures.
-The Mission noted that small and crowded classrooms used as voting

stations compromised voter secrecy.
-Arrangement of voting in alphabetical order caused some confusion
and
unnecessary delays;
-Voter assistance in some cases compromised voter secrecy.
-Missing names in the register and black book disenfranchised some
voters.
-In a number of areas, voting had an ethnic bias, resulting in
ethnic
minority voters being disadvantaged.
-Lack of a time frame within which election results were to be
announced caused anxiety, tension and speculation.
-In some areas mounting of road blocks by vigilantes caused
inconvenience to voters and other stakeholders.
-Sorting of ballot papers in the counting process was not properly
structured in some areas and thus contributed to delays.
-The ECK used opaque ballot boxes instead of transparent ones.
-In some cases campaign posters of candidates were observed within
the
prohibited radius of polling centres
-The practice of interviewing political leaders within the confines
of
polling stations, after they had voted, breached electoral
regulations.

COLLATION, TALLYING AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ELECTION RESULTS
---------- ------------ ------------- -------------------------
-Tallying was done in the presence of party and candidates? agents;

-Form 16A had to be signed by all parties and candidates? agents for

purposes of authenticating the results.
-Announcement of results at polling station level reflected
transparency;
-The Mission noted with concern, the slow process of collation and
tallying of the Presidential results, led to heightened tension in
several parts of the country leading to violent riots;
-Delayed relaying of results from strongholds of one of the
Presidential candidates fuelled speculation and fear that results
were
tampered with:
-Some parties raised concern regarding the mode and timing of
electing
ECK Commissioners;
-Concerns were raised about impartiality of the judiciary and
expediency of handling election petitions within a specific time
frame.
-The ECK Chairman exhibited no control over the process of tallying
and
announcement of results.
-A number of utterances made by the ECK Chairman cast doubt on the
integrity and credibility of the Commission.
-The ECK Chairman displayed incompetence and weakness in the final
management of the electoral process.

POST ELECTION
-------------

The Mission observed the following:
-Escalation of riots in several provinces in the nation;
-increased loss of life;
-There is a growing number of Internally Displaced Persons and an
influx of refugees into Partner States;
-Destruction of property and looting;
-The ethnic dimension continues to bedevil the society;
-The goodwill exhibited by the different initiatives towards
mediation.
-Far reaching negative socio-economic consequences to Kenya and
Partner
States.

CONCLUSION
----------
An election is a process that involves a number of stages namely
gazetting of the election period, nominations, campaigns, civic and


NAIROBI 00000136 004 OF 005


voter education, polling, counting of votes, tallying, announcement
and
declaration of results. The whole process is conducted within the
national legal framework that is to say the constitution, the
presidential, parliamentary, civic laws as well as regulations. The

above process can be categorized into three main stages namely pre-
polling phase, polling day and post polling period.

The Pre-Polling Phase was initially characterized by an atmosphere
of
tension, suspicion, and some incidences of violence in different
parts
of the country. Different stakeholders condemned the violence and
subsequently the environment changed into a relatively conducive
atmosphere for continued campaigns until the polling day. In spite
of
the initial challenges, this stage can be considered to have been
generally successful.

Notwithstanding some shortfalls, Polling Day was characterized by a

high voter turnout, good performance by the electoral officials,
which
led to a peaceful and transparent voting process. In most cases the

counting and announcement of results at the polling centres was
concluded well.

The Mission commends the role played by the media in covering and
relaying information regarding the entire electoral process in a
timely
manner. The Media?s role was critical on the polling day where they

regularly kept the public informed about electoral developments.
This
is a best practice that should be emulated by Media houses in the
region.

The Post Polling Period was characterized by uncoordinated and
suspect
actions, which include among others statements by the Chairman of
the
ECK to the effect that he could not trace some of his Returning
Officers who had disappeared with the results and had switched off
their phones. In addition, he also stated that he would declare the

results with or without the returns, which he didn?t do.

The delay in the announcement of the results plus the shortcomings
mentioned above resulted in gross mismanagement of the tallying
process
and declarations of the Presidential results. This critically
undermined the credibility of the final stage of electoral process.


The EAC Mission strongly commends the people of Kenya for the high
voter turnout, their enthusiasm and commitment to the process,
respect,
hospitality and cooperation accorded to the Observer Missions. In
the
same vein, the Mission condemns the resultant violence and deeply
regrets the senseless loss of life and property.

RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------

-The Mission calls upon the Summit to review the state of peace,
security and good governance in Kenya as mandated by Article 11(3)
of
the EAC Treaty.
-The Mission urges the Summit to take an active role and be at the

forefront of the process towards a just and lasting solution to the

crisis.
-The Mission commends the initiatives that have been made towards
there
solution of the ongoing political conflict and all efforts to
support
this initiative are encouraged.
-The EAC should establish a regional mechanism to prevent, manage,
resolve disputes and conflicts and common mechanisms for the

NAIROBI 00000136 005 OF 005


management
of refugees in the Region as per Chapter 23 of the Treaty;
-The fundamental principle in the Treaty which requires adherence to

principles of good governance should be underpinned by enactment of
a
uniform electoral law and establishment of an East African Electoral

Commission.
-The East African Community should develop a civic education
programme
that addresses potential challenges of ethnic and tribal tensions
within the region.
-Excessive use of force in dealing with protestors should be
discouraged.
-Those involved in perpetration of political crime and killings
should
be prosecuted.
-The anomalies cited in the tallying process should be investigated
and
the ECK Officials and any other persons found to be responsible
should
be held accountable.

Electoral legal reforms in Kenya should encompass the following:
-Provision of a time limit within election results should be
announced;
-Provision of a specific time-frame within which electoral petitions

are disposed of;
-Use of transparent ballot boxes;
-Clarity on qualifications for presidential victory;
-Appointment of the Judiciary;
-Appointment of ECK Officials;
-Use of public resources during campaigns;
-Clarity on powers, authority and autonomy of the ECK.

Political Party leaders should prevail over their supporters to stop

violence and engage in collective dialogue for the resolution of the

crisis.

The Mission urges Kenyan citizens to appreciate the need for unity
in
diversity even at this critical point in their nation?s history.
END TEXT.

RANNEBERGER

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