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EAC Election Observation Mission Commends Kenya for ‘Satisfactory’ Polls

Speaking during a press briefing convened to release the preliminary findings of the EAC mission in Nairobi, the Head of Mission, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, lauded the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the improvements made in regard to transparency, preparations, and management of the 2022 Kenya General Election.
Dr Jakaya Kikwete addressing journalists in Nairobi
The EAC Election Observation Mission has expressed satisfaction at the manner in which the voting exercise in the Kenya 2022 General Election was conducted and called on Kenyans to continue maintaining peace after the results are declared. 

Speaking during a press briefing convened to release the preliminary findings of the EAC mission in Nairobi, the Head of Mission, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, lauded the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the improvements made in regard to transparency, preparations, and management of the 2022 Kenya General Election. 

“The Mission commends the IEBC on the successful use of technology in voter registration, voter identification and transmission of results. It has improved efficiency, and increased transparency of the election process,” said Dr Kikwete. 

Dr Kikwete, who is also a former President of the United Republic of Tanzania said that the mission witnessed a calm, peaceful, and orderly environment. He observed that most polling stations opened on time, and the few which opened late for various reasons including late setting up of the station, late arrival of polling materials or polling officials were able to compensate for lost time by late closure of polls. 

He added that at all polling stations, security personnel were present and highly professional in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities. “The security personnel did not interfere with electoral processes nor did they intimidate voters. The Mission commends the Kenya Police Service for a job very well done,” he said. 

He, however, cited challenges in the identification of voters using the KIEMS kits and recommended prompt identification and resolution of the problems relating to the kits for better performance in future elections. 

“Further, the Mission noted that at various stages of the electoral process, there were problems associated with social media, particularly regarding disinformation, misinformation and hate speech,” said Dr Kikwete said.

He also commended the mainstream media for voter education and coverage of the electoral process.   Dr Kikwete said that the mission observed that agents of political parties and candidates were present at polling stations and were not encumbered in performing their duties.

“It was a bit concerning that it was only the major political parties that were able to deploy agents and also intriguing to note the presence of many agents of independent candidates,” he said, adding that the protocols and procedures for opening and closure of polling were observed.

Dr Kikwete said that the EAC Observers noted that the party agents were placed too far from the polling official identifying the voters and called on the IEBC to consider placing party agents close to such officials to ascertain the authenticity of the voters.

Dr Kikwete released the preliminary findings at a joint media briefing with H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma (former President of Sierra Leone and Head, AU-COMESA Election Observer Mission) and H.E. Mulatu Teshome (former President of Ethiopia and Head, IGAD Election Observer Mission).   

The EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki constituted the East African Community Election Observation Mission to the 2022 Kenya General Election, drawn from the EAC region, following the invitation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of the Republic of Kenya.  

The East African Election Observation Mission was deployed in 16 teams in 27 Counties in the following administrative regions: Nairobi region, Central region, Nyanza region, Eastern region, Western region, Rift Valley and Coastal region. On polling day, they were able to observe elections in 218 polling stations. 

The Mission undertook consultations with stakeholders including, the Chairman of the IEBC, Wafula Chebukati and IEBC Commissioners, the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Martha Koome, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior Dr Fred Matiangi, and all the four Presidential candidates: H.E. William Ruto, the Deputy President, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, the former Prime Minister, Reverend David Waihiga and Professor George Wajackoyah, amongst other stakeholders.

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