, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – A local observer group has given a thumbs up to the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) for what they called a well organised referendum exercise.
The Elections Observation Group (ELOG) said 98 percent of all polling stations across the country opened on time, while a similar number had agents who properly followed procedures needed to facilitate voting.
ELOG Chairman Kennedy Masime told a press briefing that the smooth organisation coupled with the enthusiasm that Kenyans had shown towards this exercise, might just make it the most successful voting process ever.
“Overall, ELOG would like to commend the IIEC for smooth management of the process so far and extol it to sustain the diligence through the completion of the task,” he said.
According to the watch dog body, 96 percent of polling stations had the requisite strategic materials such as ballot boxes, ballot papers, voter registers, IIEC stamps, embossers and indelible ink as well as the results forms 6.
Additionally, in all stations that they sampled, ballot boxes were shown to be empty before they were sealed. However, only about 69 percent of these polling posts had referendum agents from both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ sides.
“Only, seven percent of polling stations had neither a ‘Yes’ nor a ‘No’ referendum agent,” Mr Masime said.
The poll watcher also admitted that there was a hitch in the morning where some observers were initially denied access to polling stations as they lacked commissioned oaths of secrecy. Some of the 10,000 officers on the ground were also said to have had their phones confiscated.
Although the IIEC exempted accredited observers and media personnel from swearing this oath on Friday, ELOG said this had not been properly communicated to the commission’s agents on the ground.
“This problem was not unique to us but also affected other observers who were going to polling stations where this information had not reached. The information was only available in Nairobi but conveying that to the lowest level was a challenge,” explained Steering Committee member Peter Aling’o.
However, communication between the overseers and the IIEC saw the problem swiftly rectified. The group however urged the commission to enhance communication between the headquarters and the officers on the ground to ensure that such hitches are avoided.
ELOG also commended Kenyans for their peaceful conduct in exercising their democratic right and urged them to remain calm until the entire process is completed and results are announced.