The European Union’s chief observer for Kenya’s 2017 elections says the process was far from perfect, singling out, in particular, the country’s politicians. The EU mission is calling for Kenya to undertake reforms that will strengthen democracy. Speaking Tuesday at the European Parliament, the EU chief election observer in Kenya, Marietje Schaake, blamed politicians for problems with the country’s 2017 election. “The Kenyan people, including five million young people able to vote for the first time, did not fully enjoy their democratic rights as legally foreseen for all Kenyans,” said Schaake. “The electoral process was damaged by political leaders attacking independent institutions, and by a lack of dialogue between the opposing sides with escalating disputes and violence.”
The EU mission chief said the process disappointed voters, leading to political confrontations, and the East African nation remains divided.
In less than three months in 2017, Kenya’s electoral commission organized two presidential elections. The first poll in August was nullified by Kenya’s supreme court after it found illegalities in the transmission of election results.
At least 15 million Kenyans voted in August, a huge turnout credited in part to technology, as many believed that biometric voter identification and electronic transmission of results would reduce electoral fraud.