JOHANNESBURG, August 10 – The African Union (AU) election observer mission on Thursday said was “pleased” with the Kenya elections, which were “peaceful” and met the standards set by that country and the AU.
Nearly 20 million Kenyans registered to vote in the hotly contested presidential and parliamentary elections.
Former South president, Thabo Mbeki, who is leading the AU observer mission, told journalists at a press briefing in Nairobi that the counting of votes was being carried out in a transparent manner in the presence of all party representatives.
Although counting was yet to completed, Mbeki gave an account of the AU observations so far.
“Our conclusion really is that we know that the IEBC [Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission] is still involved in a process of tallying the votes, it has therefore not announced any results as at the time of preparation of this preliminary report. This means that as the electoral process is continuing it may be premature to make a final statement,” said Mbeki.
“However, the AU election observer mission is very pleased to say that the elections were peaceful and on election day, August 8th, the population went to the polling stations in large numbers and the people were permitted to vote in a manner which met the standards set in Kenyan law, which was also consistent with the policies of the African Union.”
He said the counting of votes was being done in a transparent manner. But AU observers had noted of concerns raised by opposition leader Raila Odinga, who claimed the IEBC systems were “hacked”, allegedly by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party and that the results so far were a “fraud”.
Kenyatta – the son of Kenya’s founding president Jomo Kenyatta – is leading by about two million votes, with counting expected to be concluded Thursday.
The former South African president also revealed that during voting, Odinga, who leads the National Super Alliance (NASA), complained about the movement of security personnel from one polling station to another, alleging they were possibly involved in vote rigging. Mbeki said the matter was looked into by the AU election observer mission, which was one of many. Other observer missions include the Carter Foundation and the European Union.
Mbeki said the hacking complaint had to be dealt with by the IEBC, which has rejected the allegations and has provided hard copies signed by all party representatives to prove that the results announced were accurate.
“Counting was very orderly and in a transparent manner, party agents were able to inspect each ballot paper … and the stamp of the IEBC,” said Mbeki.
Reports of overnight violence could not be independently verified. As many as five people were said to have been shot dead in clashes between the police and slum dwellers.
Mbeki said all stakeholders must work together to deal with disputes.