August 16, 2017

EU urges Kenyan election commission to post all results online

EU observers in Kenya have called on the election commission to publish all remaining forms showing vote tallies on its website to ensure the transparency and accuracy of the process.

“The timing of such information being made public is critical given that petitions relating to the presidential race must be filed within seven days of the results announcement,” the mission said in a statement on Wednesday.

Andrew Limo, an election commission spokesman, said about 2,900 of the 41,000 forms showing results at individual polling stations were not yet online.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected in the Aug. 8 vote but opposition leader Raila Odinga has rejected results, saying they were rigged.

Newsmen report that on Aug. 10, international observers praised the handling of Kenya’s presidential election, with the EU mission saying it had seen no sign of manipulation despite opposition complaints and scattered protests.

In its first assessment of the poll, the EU mission said it had seen no signs of “centralised or localised manipulation” of the voting process.

Marietje Schaake, head of the mission, said the EU would provide an analysis of the tallying process in a later report.

John Kerry, the former U.S. Secretary of State heading the Carter Centre observer mission, said the election system, which is ultimately based on the original paper ballots cast, remained solid.

Kerry urged all sides to wait for electronic tallies to be double-checked against hard copies.

“The process that was put in place is proving its value thus far.

“Kenya has made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy and the character of that democracy.

“Don’t let anybody besmirch that,” Kerry said.

Kenyan election commission head Ezra Chiloba had on Wednesday rejected Odinga’s claims.

Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president in charge of the Africa Union observer mission, praised the poll so far.

“It would be very regrettable if anything emerges afterwards that sought to corrupt the outcome, to spoil that outcome,” he said.

A resident of Nairobi’s Kawangware slum said police fired tear gas at dozens of Odinga supporters throwing stones on Thursday.

Angry protests had erupted in opposition strongholds in Nairobi and the western city of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold on Wednesday, with demonstrators burning tyres in the streets.

Police shot dead one protester in Nairobi. One person was killed by a machete-wielding gang that attacked a tally center in coastal Tana River County, and police shot dead two of the assailants.

On Thursday morning, some market stalls and shops were open in Kisumu and more motorcycles and vehicles were on the street than a day earlier.

A group of laborers and transporters sitting in the shade said they were eager for daily life to return.

“We don’t want to fight, we want to go back to work,” driver Evans Omondi, 28, who wore a polo shirt and jeans, said.

The men said they were worried by Odinga’s allegations but said they could not afford the consequences of violence in their city, which saw some of the worst clashes a decade ago.

Kenyatta, a 55-year-old businessman seeking a second five-year term, held a lead of about 10 percent from the start of Tuesday’s counting, the culmination of a hard-fought contest between the heads of Kenya’s two political dynasties.

Odinga contested and lost Kenya’s last two elections, which he also said were rigged.

He has urged his supporters to remain calm but said: “I don’t control the people”.

He posted 50 pages of computer logs online to support his hacking claims, but they were “inconclusive”, according to Matt Bernhard, who studies computer security in election systems at the University of Michigan.

In 2007, tallying was halted and the incumbent president declared the winner, triggering an outcry from Odinga’s camp and waves of ethnic violence that led to International Criminal Court charges against Kenyatta and his now-deputy, William Ruto.

The cases against them collapsed as witnesses died or disappeared.