NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – The Commonwealth Election Observer group has given a thumbs up to the manner in which Monday’s General Election was conducted saying that it was transparent.
The group led by former Botswana President Festus Mogae says that despite constraints experienced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the process went on well.
Mogae who released the preliminary findings on the election has however called on the IEBC to maintain the levels of transparency even in the yet to be completed tallying process.
“Based on the process up to this point, the 2013 election represents a major effort on behalf of the IEBC and other institutions to conduct genuine elections. We urge IEBC to ensure clarity and to complete the process in transparent and timely manner,” he said.
“Throughout the preparations for the polls, confidence in the IEBC was reported high and overall the IEBC managed the preparations in a transparent manner,” he insisted.
He says that IEBC also did well in preparations despite the many reform tasks that were to be conducted including boundary delimitation and voter registration.
The observer mission also commended parties for peaceful campaigns but blamed them for putting pressure on the IEBC by conducting their nominations on the day of the deadline.
“IEBC did struggle to contend with some truncated electoral deadlines and shortcomings for instance the voter education campaign was initiated late in the process, the reduced period for voter registration also impacted on the process,” Mogae added.
On Election Day, the commonwealth observers found out that IEBC and partnering security agencies were effective in managing the large crowds that turned up.
The team that has been in the country since February 25 also said that the counting of votes in polling station was done transparently in the presence of party agents.
Mogae however expressed concern over the high number of invalid votes but says that it was foreseeable given the complexity of the voting process and late voter education campaign by the IEBC.
He has called on those who dispute the final results to follow the channel provided for in the law.
The commonwealth group also observed in their findings that the campaigns had been peaceful taking into account the few incidences and tension in areas that had pre-existing issues like the Tana Delta.