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Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Kenyan Domestic Observers Forum Press

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NAIROBI 000009

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM KPAO PGOV PREL KE
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: KENYAN DOMESTIC OBSERVERS FORUM PRESS
RELEASE


The Kenyan Domestic Observers Forum (KEDOF) issued the following
press release on December 31, 2007.

Begin text:

PRELIMINARY PRESS STATEMENT AND VERDICT OF 2007 KENYA'S GENERAL
ELECTIONS
We the partners of KEDOF would like to issue the following press
statement on the just ended Kenya's general elections of2007.
This is a preliminary press statement and verdict by KEDOF, a
comprehensive will be issued in due course. The statement covers the
following seven areas
1. Deployment
2. Polling
3. Counting
4. Tallying at constituency centers
5. Announcement of results
6. Delivery of Constituency results by Returning Officers to the ECK
Headquarters at KICC
7. National tallying of Presidential Results from all the 210
constituencies

Deployment
----------

In October 2007, KEDOF trained and appointed 13 Regional
Coordinators covering all regions of the country.' Later, they
trained and deployed 454 constituency observers to cover the 210
constituencies. The Regional Coordinators and Constituency Observers
collected information based on their observations during the party
nominations, campaign rallies and other pre,election events.

KEDOF also recruited almost 17,000 election-day observers for the
27,700 polling stations spread across the country. The deployment of
these observers covered as many of the over 20,000 polling centers,
taking into account criteria based on possible hotspots and other
sensitive areas.

The 454 constituency observers trained the election-day observers
before deployment. A 24 page checklist report covered all critical
aspects of observations for the election-day.

Specially trained teams of personnel analyzed the data that formed
the basis for our preliminary statement.

Polling
-------

On polling we observed the following:
1. There a high voter 'turn-out in almost all constituencies in
Kenya ranging from 54% to 98 % in some constituencies.
2. Peaceful and orderly conduct of polling in most polling stations

Most polling stations were managed professionally by the ECK. All
polling stations were clearly marked and demarcated and were easily
accessible by voters, observers, agents and others who were supposed
to be in polling stations.

Voters were patient, peaceful and remained in the queues until they
voted in almost all the polling stations

Challenges included delays in opening of some polling stations and
in commencing the voting process

There was confusion in some polling stations resulting from the
splitting of voters registers based on alphabetical order

There was swapping and misplacement of ballot papers
Nairobi/Changamwe and Bura/Budalangi

Counting at Polling Stations
----------------------------

The law provides that counting be carried out at polling stations.
The results are recorded on statutory forms and'results must be
posted conspicuously at the polling stations for all to see. The
statutory forms must be signed by the Presiding Officers and party
agents. We observed the following:

In most polling stations the counting went on well and was conducted
in accordance with the law;


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Counting was peaceful and orderly in most polling stations;

In most polling stations all party agents present and observers and
other stakeholders were allowed access;

However, in many polling stations the statutory forms - 16A and 17A
were not countersigned by all party agents for example in most
constituencies in Central, Nyanza and Central parts of the Eastern
Provinces;

In some polling stations agents were either sent out or left out of
fear, mostly in Central, Nyanza and central parts of Eastern
Provinces;

In most polling stations the counting was slow resulting in anxiety
and delays in transmitting results to constituency tallying centers.

Tallying at Constituency centers
--------------------------------

Tallying at constituency centers is conducted by the Returning
Officers, relying on forms submitted to him or her by the presiding
officers (pos) from all the polling stations. The ROs declares the
results of the Civic and Parliamentary elections at Constituency
centers. The results of Presidential, Parliamentary and Civic are
announced and recorded by the, ROs in statutory forms and s/he also
addresses the any serious objections or rejections relating to
counting at polling stations.

Following our preliminary analysis we make the following
observations:

Inordinate delays in the transmission of results from the polling
stations resulting in anxiety;

There were significant cases of unsigned statutory forms and many
results were relayed in photocopies.

Announcement of Results
-----------------------

The announcement of results is made at three levels:

1. At polling stations
2. Tallying centers at the Constituency levels
3. ECK Headquarters, which was at the KICC

The following are our observations:

The announcement of results at the polling stations was conducted in
accordance with the law;

In some constituencies the results of the presidential elections
were much higher than of Parliamentary and Civic elections results;

In some constituencies the Parliamentary and Civic elections results
were announced earlier than the Presidential results resulting in
suspicion and intense anxiety;

In some constituencies the ECK reported that they were unable to
reach the ROs by phone and could not trace them.

Delivery of constituency results by the ROs to ECK
--------------------------------------------- -----

The RO has power to declare constituency results in respect of
parliamentary and local authority elections at the constituency
level. For the presidential elections, the RO must deliver physical
copies of the statutory declarations. The RO is not empowered t9
vary results declared at the tallying level. In addition, for this
years general election, the ECK instituted further improvement and
safeguards by providing tamper-proof bags for storage of the polling
material on transit.

We observed the following:

While returns from most constituencies were made within reasonable
time, and delivered in good order, the delays from certain regions
raised questions of integrity of the process;

While ECK provided mobile phones and adequate airtime, including
satellite telephone for remote areas, it is surprising that, as the

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ECK Chairman admitted, returning officers not only failed to
communicate but indeed rendered themselves unreachable;

Acceptance of the results submitted irregularly (i.e. by way of
photocopies of statutory" forms instead of the original ones) by the
Commission raised questions.

National re-tallying
--------------------

The national re-tallying and announcement exercise was
characterized by . Suspicions and disputations (sic) toward "the
end. Consequently, the ECK invited political party agents (two from
each party) and five observers (two from KEDOF) to observe ,the
re-tallying of votes as demanded by party agents. We noted the
following' during this process:

Disparities between results released by ECK and the results
announced by returning officers in some regions including Central
and Central Eastern, Rift Valley, overstatement of results in some
constituencies;

Reduction or suppression of results in an indicant number of
constituencies,
illegal replacement of the authentic Form 16A by photocopies raising
the question of authenticity of the results;

In our view there were high possibilities of manipulation of results
in all instances where photocopies were used in place of original
forms.

This is more so in all such cases either the forms have been clearly
filled in by the same individual from all political parties while in
some cases the names of the agents are missing. TIlls problem was
also witnessed in the cases of other statutory forms such as Form 17
A;

When the final presidential results were announced by the
Commission, party agents and journalists were evicted from the
centre

Conclusion
----------

Whereas the General Elections of 2007 were conducted openly, fairly
and professionally. from preparation and deployment of materials and
personnel to all polling stations across the country to the polling
centers, and whereas the polling day went peacefully in that voters
were largely able to vote freely according to their choices, the
handling of the results of the polling and the rest of the process
thereafter, in our opinion, were questionable;

There are significant discrepancies in files released by the
tallying centers and those by ECK at KICC, which make the concerns
of agents of some of the presidential candidates legitimate;

Key officers of the ECK notably presiding officers, their deputies
and in some cases the returning officers conducted themselves in a
manner that was questionable. For instance, there were cases of
presiding officers and their deputy presiding officers disappearing
with the returns;

The delay in announcing the outcomes led to heightened fear,
insecurity and anger in Kenya

In our view considering the entire electoral process, the 2007
General Elections were credible in as far as the voting and counting
process is concerned. The electoral process lost credibility towards
the end with regard to the tallying and announcement of presidential
results.

Signed by the KEDOF co-chairs

OLIVER KISAKA
MORRIS ODHIAMBO
KOKI MULI

End text.

RANNEBERGER

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