NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – Three election observer missions have scaled down the number of election monitors in the country due to security concerns arising from National Super Alliance’s boycott of Thursday’s presidential election.
The Carter Centre, the European Union Election Observation Union (EU EOM) and the Commonwealth announced the moves in separate statements on Tuesday, citing the security of their staff.
The missions however maintained that they will deploy long-term observers to access the general environment of the election especially tallying and tabulation of election results.
The missions will also deploy experts who will work at the national tallying centre to monitor the relay of election results electronically.
“Instead, the Centre will deploy a limited observation mission with 10 long-term observers and a small team of election experts to assess the general electoral environment, and key procedural changes implemented by the IEBC, especially related to tallying processes at the constituency tally centres,” the Carter Centre noted.
The Carter Centre also urged the police to exercise restraint to avoid a possible clash with protesters which could escalate tensions.
The founder of the election monitor, former United States President Jimmy Carter, however called for the de-escalation of the current political rhetoric to facilitate the conduct of the elections within the best possible environment.
“Given the heightened political tensions, it is imperative that Kenya’s political leaders find a mutually acceptable path forward for holding credible democratic elections,” said President Carter.
He said both NASA and the ruling Jubilee Party should remain open to dialogue should the Supreme Court give an extension to the time within which the fresh election is to be held, even as the sixty days Constitutional limit comes to an end on October 31.
“If sanctioned by the Supreme Court, the main political leaders should signal their support for a short delay in the elections to allow space for renewed dialogue and to agree on any additional electoral reforms necessary to enable credible elections.”
The apex court on Tuesday certified an application filed by three petitioners seeking the postponement of Thursday’s election as urgent and directed parties to paper before it on Wednesday morning.
Samuel Mohochi, Gacheke Gachohi and Khelef Khalifa through the petitioned filed by city lawyer Harun Ndubi argue stopping Thursday’s election will save the taxpayers from “monetary loss running into billions of shillings” owing to the high possibility that the election could fail to meet minimum Constitutional; threshold warranting its annulment.
The EU EOM on its part cited attacks on statements made by the international community as the reason why it anticipates hostility against its monitors hence the decision to scale down.
“We have assessed the safety of our observers considering the extreme tension, disruptions of polling preparations, and strong criticism that has been made of the international community,” EU EOM’s statement read.
The Commonwealth Mission under the leadership of former Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama will also not deploy as many monitors, electing instead to monitor critical processes at selected tallying centres including the National Tallying Centre at Bomas of Kenya.
The African Union is expected to keep its close to 100 observers to monitor the election.