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EU notes strides in poll reforms, urges more transparency

The observer group encouraged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to promote consultative forums with various stakeholders and ensure regular news releases to clarify on issues of contention/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 16 – The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has urged the electoral commission to adopt timely reforms geared towards enhancing the transparency of next week’s fresh presidential election.

In a raft of recommendations detailed in a statement released Monday, the observer group encouraged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to promote consultative forums with various stakeholders and ensure regular news releases to clarify on issues of contention.

“The EU EOM has observed improved staff training, with lessons learned from field staff, review of legal compliance with the Supreme Court ruling, and more emphasis on the results process,” the Marietje Schaake-led group noted.

“However further clarity is still needed on how the 34B Forms (from constituencies) and the 34C Forms (at the national level) will be compiled,” the EU EOM further outlined in its list of recommendations totalling 18.

While making reference to the latest adjustments made by IEBC with regards to electronic transmission of results, the observer mission urged the commission to ensure its staff a properly briefed on the changes.

In a memo on Saturday, IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba communicated to election managers the removal of the text component on its Results Transmission System (RTS) due to the inclusion of five candidates whose names had not been included in its results transmission interface.

To ensure a seamless results workflow, Chiloba said President Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee Party) and National Super Alliance’s Raila Odinga will each be awarded a zero in the text section of RTS with the statutory Forms 34A and 34B being subsequently scanned and transmitted electronically to Constituency Tallying Centres and the National Tallying Centre.

Provisional results will thereafter be generated based on the electronically transmitted results forms to include votes garnered by Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance), Abduba Dida (Alliance for Real Change), and independent candidates Japheth Kaluyu, Michael Wainaina and Joseph Nyagah who were included in the October 26 repeat presidential election through an addendum gazetted by IEBC last week.

In its statement, the EU EOM also urged political players to organize agents in each tallying centre and polling stations for purposes of monitoring the counting of votes and tabulation of poll results.

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“The IEBC is expected to allow up to five agents per party/candidate in each tallying centre, which in principle would allow for constant and robust coverage. Jubilee Party report that they have finalized recruitment of 41,000 agents to be deployed in each polling station and tallying centre,” the observer group stated.

It, however, noted: “The financial costs of recruiting and paying for such a number of agents can be a burden for political parties.”

Politicians were also warned against attacking institutions and making utterances that could heighten tension and divisions in the country.

In order to promote the integrity of the electoral process, EU EOM noted the need for live media coverage in all the 290 Constituency Tallying Centres.

According to the observer group, the availability of election results to stakeholders as and when the votes are counted and tallied will significantly increase transparency in the conduct of the fresh election.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has vowed to boycott the poll but President Kenyatta has insisted his exit will not affect the election.

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