Carter Centre says Kenya polls were a setback for democracy

2018-03-08 21:04
File: AFP

File: AFP

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'I believe those who voted for me chose the better vision' - Uhuru Kenyatta

2017-11-28 15:37

Hundreds gathered at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on Tuesday to witness the inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta, who was sworn in for a second term as Kenya president. Kenyatta's controversial win in the August elections resulted in a second vote. Watch.WATCH

Nairobi -  Kenya's 2017 elections were a setback to this East African country's democratic development, the Carter Centre has said.

In its final report on the elections the US-based centre said the process of tallying final results suffered from delays and a lack of transparency.

"Kenya's 2017 general electoral process was marred by incidents of unrest and violence throughout the extended electoral period, and by harsh attacks by top political leaders on electoral and judicial authorities that seriously undermined the independence of the country's democratic institutions and the rule of law," it said in a report released late on Wednesday.

The group said the electoral commission hastily declared the final presidential election results on August 11, just three days after voting day, based on the results from each constituency, and prior to the receipt of all results from each polling station.

The Carter Centre said election authorities failed to ensure that parties had timely access to official results from each polling station in the days following the announcement of official results, which made it impossible for parties and observers to fully verify and cross-check the results against their internal data in time to include any key evidence in court petitions.

At least 92 people died in clashes between opposition supporters and police over the declaration that President Uhuru Kenyatta had won the August election and during protests to push for electoral reforms ahead of the repeat elections.

The Carter Centre and other international observers were criticised for praising the polls in their initial reports.

European Union observers said in January that a lack of government cooperation meant they were unable to travel to the East African nation to present their final report on the vote. Kenya's embassy in Brussels dismissed the EU explanation as "dishonest."

President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner of the August 8 election, but the Supreme Court nullified the results citing irregularities and illegalities and ordered a fresh election. Those new elections were held on Octpber 26 but opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted saying there were not adequate electoral reforms to ensure a fair poll. Kenyatta was re-elected but Odinga said he lacks legitimacy due to the low voter turnout in the repeat poll.

Odinga still challenges Kenyatta's legitimacy as president. He staged a protest that was a mock inauguration where he had himself declared the "people's president." That event prompted the government to restrict the media and to arrest some opposition legislators.

Read more on:    eu  |  kenya  |  kenya 2017 elections  |  east africa

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