Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chariman Wafula Chebukati [File/Photo]
A United States election observer has lauded the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) Preparedness for the August 8th general elections. The Carter Center, an election monitoring body founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, praised Kenya's “strengthening democratic culture”, but warned of possible violence in a pre-election report released on Thursday.
“The judiciary has also played a key role in contributing to a democratic and competitive electoral process,” the Center says. "At the same time the Centre maintains genuine concerns about the level of violence that has prevailed throughout the pre-election period...Incidents of violence, incitement and the harassment of candidates and their supporters are unacceptable infringements of democratic norms,” the nine-page report adds.
The report further says that a prospect of violence during and after the forthcoming elections is elevated as a result of the conduct of the political parties' primaries, which the Centre termed as “chaotic” and “shambolic.”
“In addition to the large numbers of candidates and the intensity of many campaigns, the looming threat of election-related violence can be seen as a product of “underlying socioeconomic and political tensions arising from land injustices, marginalization, and disenfranchisement,” the report states.
“The Carter Centre commends the IEBC for its efforts. Unfortunately some of the candidates have used the court challenges to criticize its authority and competence in an attempt to delegitimize the IEBC,” the report adds.
The Center, however, faulted the IEBC for its “inadequate communication with stakeholders and insufficient transparency regarding their decision-making.” “This lack of transparency has negatively affected the confidence and trust of the electorate and political parties in the work of the IEBC,” the Carter Centre says.
“While the IEBC has taken efforts to correct inaccuracies in the voter register identified during the audit, it was not able to act on all recommendations in the time remaining before the polls,” the Carter Centre added.
The Carter observer team in Kenya will be led by former Secretary of State John Kerry and Amiata Toure, a former Prime Minister of Senegal.