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What Observers Found In the Highly Contested Kenya General Election 2022

Social Media Platforms did their best to Misinform during the 2022 General Elections in Kenya. The EAC Observers team concludes

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Team of observers from the East African Community tables their report on what transpired during the General Elections of Kenya 2022 at Serena Hotel in Nairobi.

Tabling results

While the Mission observed that the campaigns were conducted in a calm and peaceful environment, social media platforms were notorious for reporting false information regarding preliminary results.

Hate speech and Lies

“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,” says the report.

Parties and candidates had the opportunity to campaign freely although there were reports of some challenges encountered by the candidates, but they were isolated incidents.

Problems relating to security were dealt with by the national security agencies. 

Strangely, security forces in Kenya proves to be very professional hardly interfering in voting process as it is usually the norm in neighboring countries.

“The Mission takes note of the important contribution made by several stakeholders like faith-based organizations, civil society organizations, private sector and the media which helped in promoting peace and harmony during the campaigns as well as before and on polling day.”

The Mission commends various stakeholders for their efforts to address these challenges.

The mainstream media also assisted in addressing some of the challenges. We also commend the wonderful work they have done on voter education and coverage of the electoral process.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

The Mission takes note of the remarkable improvements made by the IEBC in regard to transparency, preparations, and management of the 2022 Kenya General elections. 

However, much more needs to be done for better outcomes in future. There should be better communication between the IEBC and the various stakeholders.

 Generally, the situation was calm, peaceful, and orderly. Most polling stations opened on time, but there were a few which opened late including delaying setting up of the station, late arrival of polling materials or polling officials.

However, we were pleased to note that the time lost was compensated by late closure of polls in the concerned polling stations. It is recommended that; the IEBC should take corrective measures to ensure that these deficiencies do not recur in future elections.  

 In the observed polling stations, security personnel were present and highly professional in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities.

They did not interfere with electoral processes nor did they intimidate voters. The Mission commends the Kenya Police Service for a job very well done.

Please continue to do the good work everywhere and for every task you are assigned to do.

 Polling officials displayed high levels of competence and professionalism.

The Mission commends the IEBC for the selection and training of poll officials. We also commend the IEBC for involving young people and women in the management of the electoral processes.

Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) 

Though the EAC Mission commends the IEBC on the successful use of technology in voter registration, there are some shortcoming in KIEMS kits.

The voter identification and transmission of results have been done under improved efficiency, and increased transparency of the election process.

However, there were instances of challenges in identification of voters using the KIEMS kit.

We recommend that the problems relating to the KIEMS kit should be identified and the necessary correct measures be taken for better performance in future elections.

The Mission was pleased to observe that agents of political parties and candidates were present at polling stations and were not encumbered in performing their duties.

 However, it was a bit concerning that it was only the major political parties that were able to deploy agents. Also it was intriguing to note the presence of many agents of independent candidates. 

The Candidates

Before deployment, the Mission undertook consultations with stakeholders including, the Chairman of the IEBC, Mr Wafula Chebukati and IEBC Commissioners, the Chief Justice, Martha Koome, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior Fred Matiangi, and the Presidential candidates.

“We met in person with William Ruto, the Deputy President, Raila Odinga, former Prime Minister and Reverend David Waihiga. I spoke by phone to Professor George Wajackoyah.  He was in his village, but we agreed to meet when he returned to Nairobi after voting.” Kikwete.

The other stakeholders we interacted with include the National Police Service of Kenya, Ambassadors of the East African Community countries to Kenya, Commissioners of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, and Commissioners of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, political parties, the Election Observation Group (ELOG), civil society and faith based organizations and the media.

“We also had consultations with the other regional and international observers.”

In all the polling stations observed, agents of political parties and candidates signed the results declaration form, and they were given copies of the form.

Overall, the Mission was pleased to note that the protocols and procedures for opening and closure of polling were observed. 

With regard to the layout of the polling stations, it is the opinion of the EAC Observers that the party agents were placed too far from the polling official identifying the voters.

For purposes of enhancing checks and balances, in future, the IEBC should consider placing party agents close to that official to ascertain the authenticity of the voters.

The mission noted with concern the complaints made by young people that political parties did not provide them adequate space and opportunity for them to participate as candidates in the elections.

We consider this a serious matter which needs attention and resolution. In the same vein, we call upon the political actors and government to ensure that the two-thirds gender rule is observed to the letter and spirit.

The East African Community Observer Mission would like to appeal to all political actors and stakeholders including the great people of Kenya to continue to maintain peace after the results of the elections are declared.

We implore all to embrace peaceful resolution of disputes that may arise from electoral processes. Fortunately, there is the opportunity to use the courts of law, so please make use of it.

The EAC Election Observation Mission is satisfied that the way the 2022 Kenya General election was conducted on the polling day, the people of Kenya were given the opportunity to elect leaders of their choice, freely.

We hope the subsequent processes will respect, uphold and reflect the will of the people of Kenya in the 2022 General Elections.

The Observers

Election Observation Observers Mission dispatched by the East African Community, comprises 43 East Africans was led by Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former President of Tanzania. Ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza, Chairperson of the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee of the East African Legislative Assembly, was appointed Deputy leader of the Mission. 

The members of the Mission were drawn from the East African Legislative Assembly, National Assemblies, Government Ministries, Electoral Management Bodies, National Youth Councils, National Human Rights Institutions, Civil Society Organizations and EAC Youth Ambassadors. In constituting the mission, the Secretary General is guided by the principle that no national of the country holding the election will be a member of that Mission. It follows therefore that our brothers and sisters of Kenya are not members of this mission.

Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

The deployment of this Mission was preceded by an African Union (AU), EAC and COMESA Joint High-Level Pre-Election Consultative Mission from 14th to 21st May, 2022. Later, from 25th June to 25th July, 2022, a Joint Political Assessment Mission with members from the AU, EAC, COMESA and IGAD conducted an assessment of conflict prevention and mitigation of risk factors to be taken into account during this year’s elections in Kenya. 

Members of the East African Election Observation Mission were 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. 

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