The African Union Election Observer Mission on Tuesday gave a positive assessment of Kenya’s just concluded repeat presidential polls but urged political players to engage in dialogue to heal the country from polarisation.
The observers said in a preliminary statement that the repeat polls adhered to Kenya’s electoral laws and the constitution save for sporadic riots in opposition strongholds and bad weather that marred the exercise in remote parts of the country.
“Overall, the stipulated procedures for opening, voting, closing and counting were largely complied with.
“The AU observer mission noted improvements in the technical conduct of the elections,’’ the statement said.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki led the AU team that observed Kenya’s repeat presidential polls that were characterised by low voter turnout, protests and boycotts in opposition strongholds.
The AU deployed observers to 20 counties during the October 26 repeat presidential election.
According to Mr. Mbeki, the AU observers focused mainly on technical aspects of the voting exercise that included results transmission from the constituency to the national tallying center in Nairobi.
He decried violent protests and intimidation of election officials in opposition strongholds of western Kenya and several Nairobi slums that tainted the Oct. 26 repeat polls.
“The mission notes with concern acts of violence in some parts of the country which prevented conduct of election in such places.
“The destruction of property, injuries and loss of lives that were reported during these events must be condemned,’’ Mbeki said.
Kenya’s electoral body on Monday declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of the repeat polls, saying the incumbent president garnered 7.48 million, or 98.26 per cent, of the 7.61 million valid votes cast. (Xinhua/NAN)