Envoy takes great exception to irregular release of EU observer report

January 11, 2018 12:03 pm
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The observers explained that it would have been preferable to release the report locally but that the government was not ready to receive it/COURTESY

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – Kenya’s Ambassador to the European Union Johnson Weru has taken issue with Wednesday’s release of the final European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission report.

According to the Kenyan ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Johnson Weru, the report is “condescending and disdainful” as it went against a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Kenya and the EU. “The report also went against the multilateral understanding under Article 8 and 96 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between EU and 79 countries.”

He indicated that Kenya was in constant consultation with the EU team and was supposed to hold a meeting before the report was released.

“The government of Kenya regrets the unprocedural and premature manner in which the final report of the EU Election Observations Mission has been released by Hon Marietje Schaake. Her actions have breached the terms of Kenya’s Memorandum of Understanding on election monitoring with the European Union which called for a structured and official process,” he stated.

He expressed his dismay at allegations by Schaake that he said insinuated that Kenya was not ready to receive the Mission.

“Contrary to this assertion, the Government of Kenya has through diplomatic channels been in consultation with the EU-EUM on scheduling of the release of the report in Kenya in line with the stipulations in the MOU,” he said.

He stated that in the latest communication, it had been agreed that the Mission come to the country between February and March and pointed out that Schaake has personalised a tool used to improve electoral management.

“We regret this contemptuous political grand standing as it has broken with the aim and procedures of the EU-EOM well captured in its MOU with the government of Kenya. We further regret her personalisation of the mission including in her addressing a letter to the government of Kenya using her personal stationery in her own personal capacity.”

The report faults the use of state resources to campaign, intimidation of judicial officers after the annulling of the August 8 presidential election results, violent acts by opposition supporters against election officials, and the long time it takes to prosecute electoral offences.

During the webcast, Schaake stated that this is one of the very few times that a presentation of an EU Election Observation Mission final report was taking place in the European parliament instead of the country where it was observed.

The report has 29 recommendations which it advises Kenya implement if it is to improve its election procedures.

They include strengthening independent institutions, promoting democracy within political parties, and developing the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation into a genuine public service broadcaster with full editorial and financial independence.

The observers’ general take is that the repeat presidential election was much improved than the first one, with greater standardisation of results forms, enhanced transparency through the projection of tallying at constituency centres and extensive electronic transmission and display of results forms.

The team also notes that the opposition and its supporters assaulted and intimidated polling staff, attacked Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) offices, and disrupted electoral preparations.

The team also wants timelines for prosecuting electoral offences shortened and a ceiling placed on how long disputes from nominations should last.

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