Cablegate: Kenya Elections: East African Community Observation Mission
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 NAIROBI 000136
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TAGS: KDEM KPAO PGOV PREL KE
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY OBSERVATION MISSION
1. On Saturday, January 12 the East African Community Observer
issued the following report on the Kenyan General Elections.
THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY OBSERVER MISSION REPORT KENYA GENERAL
ELECTIONS DECEMBER 2007
The following is the East African Community?s Observer Mission
covering the period immediately before the election, the polling day
and the post election period.
The East African Community Observer Mission (the Mission) undertook
task pursuant to:
-Article 3 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African
Community (Treaty) which requires ??adherence to universally
principles of good governance democracy, the rule of law, observance
human rights and social justice?.?
-Article 5(1) of the Treaty which provides for, ??widening and
deepening cooperation among the Partner States in political,
social and cultural fields, research and technology, defence,
and legal and judicial affairs, for their mutual benefit.?
Further, the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) extended an
to the East African Community (EAC) in accordance with Regulation
of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act 2002
which provides that, ??the Electoral Commission may, at any
accredit any individual, association, organisation or institution
or which is manifestly non-partisan to act as election observers??
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
for best electoral practices that could be emulated in the region;
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
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
The Mission deployed in all the eight provinces of the country. It
worth noting that the Mission could not deploy in all the districts
all the eight provinces because of logistical constraints. The
Mission?s liaison with other observer teams made it possible to have
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more comprehensive picture of the electoral process.
The Mission employed various methods in its work, including but not
Literature review; Review of media reports-radio, print and
Meetings and interactions with various stakeholders; Attending
briefings by the Electoral Commission of Kenya; Attending political
campaign rallies; Focus Group Discussions with different
Face to face interviews; Use of questionnaires.
PRE- POLLING DAY OBSERVATIONS
Generally a relatively calm environment prevailed despite some
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
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
-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
ruling party during the campaigns.
-A pervasive atmosphere of suspicion of possible vote rigging.
-To the disadvantage of some presidential candidates; the public
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
also win a parliamentary seat, inter alia, caused serious tension
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
-Commendable efforts were made to extend assistance to special
including mothers with children, pregnant mothers, the disabled, the
elderly and the illiterate.
-The ECK officials exhibited good conduct throughout the voting
-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
-There was good cooperation among party agents at the polling
-The polling day activities were extensively covered by local,
and international media;
-Electoral officials appeared to be conversant with rules of
on closing and counting;
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-Counting took place openly in the presence of candidates? agents,
observers and monitors
-The Mission noted that women were fairly represented in the ECK
-The Mission noted that small and crowded classrooms used as voting
stations compromised voter secrecy.
-Arrangement of voting in alphabetical order caused some confusion
-Voter assistance in some cases compromised voter secrecy.
-Missing names in the register and black book disenfranchised some
-In a number of areas, voting had an ethnic bias, resulting in
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
prohibited radius of polling centres
-The practice of interviewing political leaders within the confines
polling stations, after they had voted, breached electoral
COLLATION, TALLYING AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ELECTION RESULTS
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-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
-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
-Some parties raised concern regarding the mode and timing of
-Concerns were raised about impartiality of the judiciary and
expediency of handling election petitions within a specific time
-The ECK Chairman exhibited no control over the process of tallying
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.
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
-Far reaching negative socio-economic consequences to Kenya and
An election is a process that involves a number of stages namely
gazetting of the election period, nominations, campaigns, civic and
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voter education, polling, counting of votes, tallying, announcement
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
tension, suspicion, and some incidences of violence in different
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
the initial challenges, this stage can be considered to have been
Notwithstanding some shortfalls, Polling Day was characterized by a
high voter turnout, good performance by the electoral officials,
led to a peaceful and transparent voting process. In most cases the
counting and announcement of results at the polling centres was
The Mission commends the role played by the media in covering and
relaying information regarding the entire electoral process in a
manner. The Media?s role was critical on the polling day where they
regularly kept the public informed about electoral developments.
is a best practice that should be emulated by Media houses in the
The Post Polling Period was characterized by uncoordinated and
actions, which include among others statements by the Chairman of
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
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,
hospitality and cooperation accorded to the Observer Missions. In
same vein, the Mission condemns the resultant violence and deeply
regrets the senseless loss of life and property.
-The Mission calls upon the Summit to review the state of peace,
security and good governance in Kenya as mandated by Article 11(3)
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
-The Mission commends the initiatives that have been made towards
solution of the ongoing political conflict and all efforts to
this initiative are encouraged.
-The EAC should establish a regional mechanism to prevent, manage,
resolve disputes and conflicts and common mechanisms for the
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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
uniform electoral law and establishment of an East African Electoral
-The East African Community should develop a civic education
that addresses potential challenges of ethnic and tribal tensions
within the region.
-Excessive use of force in dealing with protestors should be
-Those involved in perpetration of political crime and killings
-The anomalies cited in the tallying process should be investigated
the ECK Officials and any other persons found to be responsible
be held accountable.
Electoral legal reforms in Kenya should encompass the following:
-Provision of a time limit within election results should be
-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
The Mission urges Kenyan citizens to appreciate the need for unity
diversity even at this critical point in their nation?s history.