The Commonwealth has withdrawn its observers at the Kenyan election amid security fears, though a spokesman confirmed the continued presence of some Commonwealth staff
The Commonwealth has withdrawn its observers at the Kenyan election amid security fears, though a spokesman confirmed the continued presence of some Commonwealth staff.
Voting took place in the second Kenyan presidential election on October 26, 2017 despite security fears and an opposition boycott.
Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory on August 8, 2017 led to backlash against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) when the Supreme Court ruled “irregularities and illegalities” had occurred.
IEBC senior member Roselyn Akombe has since resigned and fled the country, claiming threats to her personal safety were made.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga and some of his supporters planned to boycott and protest the vote, claiming insufficient changes had been made to ensure a credible election.
A bid to delay the election re-run failed on October 25, 2017 when only two of seven Supreme Court judges attended the hearing, with one judge absent after her bodyguard was shot the previous day.
Police used tear gas to deter protestors and election officials and voters were too fearful to turn up to polling stations, as international support dwindled.
The Commonwealth, an election observer in Kenya since the country’s adoption of multiparty politics, was criticised for having endorsed the August election when it was annulled.
The European Union and African Union have confirmed they will send observation teams but have scaled back numbers to focus on specific aspects of the vote due to extreme disruption and criticism of the proceedings.
Thabo Mbeki, former South African president and head of the African Union’s monitoring mission to Kenya, said: “In the two [polling stations] we have been there are lots of people who have turned up to vote.
“We need to have a look at more stations to see how the population is responding.”