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Opinions of Saturday, 2 September 2017

Columnist: Andrews Krow

Election observers are not electoral commissioners

The role of election observation is different from role performed by electoral commissions. Electoral commissions are mandated under special articles of constitutions of countries to perform certain specified electoral functions.

Some of their common functions include, organise, conduct and supervise elections in accordance with the constitution of their countries, demarcate constituencies in accordance with specified provisions in their constitutions, formulate and implement voter educational programmes related to elections, compile, maintain, revise and update the voters' register, ascertain, publish and declare in writing under seal the results of the elections.

These functions are technically different from role observer groups perform. Election observers promote confidence in the process and outcomes and provide recommendations for improving the process for the next election They also ensure electoral integrity and strengthens civil society's capacity capacity to promote citizens participation etc.

The supreme court in Kenya ruled “The first respondent (the election board) failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution,” the judge said." The decision of the court was based strictly on the technical issues raised and verified. Kenya has its electoral laws and regulations which guide its election.

And per the court's ruling, the commission failed, neglected or refused to conduct the Presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the CONSTITUTION. The court did not blame the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and his party because technically they had nothing to do with the elections organisation and other technical processes.

As we embark on our usual propaganda, one cardinal point we must take note of is that fact that apart from the Commonwealth observer group, other groups were also in Kenya to observe the election and all of them declared that the Presidential election was fair and credible. That did not stop aggrieved parties from seeking for legal redress if irregularities were detected.

And this was what the US ambassador to Kenya said in connection with the process Envoys support observer groups' findings on Kenya…:



Ambassador Robert Godec, supported the observer groups findings on Kenya election and affirmed that IEBC conducted free, fair and credible elections. But he told those aggrieved to go to court. Thabo Mbeki and all the leaders of the observer groups declared same.

The observers must be commended for ensuring that violence which has characterized all elections in Kenya did not happen this time. For making sure that citizens were not denied their right to vote and for making sure all parties adhered to the tenets of the game.

The challenge was peacefully done and the supreme court enjoyed the peace it needed to execute its mandate because of how professional the observers handled the process and the discussions they had with all the parties