Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of IDEG res-ponds to criticism directed at Election Observers for their role in the annulled elections in Kenya. He particularly appeals to citizens to understand the role of ex-President John Mahama’s role as head of the Commonwealth observer team.
Please hold your fire.
Prez Mahama and Prez Mbeki acquitted themselves well as leaders of the Commonwealth and AU Elections Observer Missions to Kenya, respectively. I was in Kenya as an observer of the elections too. First, all observers agreed that the voting, vote counting and the e-transmissions of the results were transparent and credible. Therefore if the results published by the IEBC followed logically from the observations at the polling stations, then the results ought to be accepted as credible too. However, Raila and the NASA’S allegations about hacking and tampering with Form 34 A/B, they effectively raised doubts about the transmission of the IEBC results.
Secondly, the international observers and their leaders could neither investigate the hacking etc. Allegations on the spot nor stop the declaration of the results, which the IEBC alone was empowered to do. The two leaders however engaged the IEBC and reported back to observers and the international media the IEBC had rejected the allegations by Raila & Co. Prezs Mahama and Mbeki repeatedly advised Raila & Ci to resort to the Supreme Court to deal with their claims.
Thirdly, Raila& Co initially rejected the two Prez advice and rather accused them of being friends or sympathisers of Kenyatta. But the leaders maintained their composure and their stand that the elections as observed were transparent and credible. But doubts about the credibility of the results ought to be sorted out in the SC, which was empowered to scrutinise the issues being raised by Raila & Co.
Fourthly, Raila & Co proceeded to resort to the streets by calling for a nationwide strike. But the strike flopped; thereafter they decided to go the SC, as Prez Mahama and Mbeki had earlier advised. It is a good thing that Raila &Co eventually went to the Supreme Court as they had earlier been advised.
By eventually respecting the advice of Prez Mbeki and Mahama to pursue justice in the SC, Raila and Co saved Kenya from explosive post-elections violence.
Both those who insisted on the SC route and those who acted accordingly have been vindicated.
The Kenyan SC has ruled the process of transmitting the results had serious flaws. Serious enough to undermine the integrity of the results and warrant a re-run of the Prez elections in 60 days.
Today is a good historic day on which Kenya set a higher standard for credible elections, democracy and the rule of law in Africa.
Let us therefore commend, rather than condemn, President Mbeki and Mahama as experienced African statesmen who uncompromisingly pointed Kenya in the direction of the SC; thereby, they played a critical role in steering Kenya away from a second post-elections violence in August 2017.