Washington, DC – On December 28, 2007, IRI’s election observation team commended the people of Kenya for the manner in which Election Day was carried out. However, we noted that voting is only one part of the process. The vote count and the acceptance of the results by the people are equally important. There are now serious questions about the manner in which the vote tabulation was managed and it is clear that many Kenyans do not view the results as credible and that some of them have resorted to violence around the country.
All legal and constitutional remedies should be pursued to address the irregularities. The Government of Kenya, especially the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) has failed in its responsibility to the people of Kenya. There are a number of issues that should have been addressed in order to ensure the confidence of the people in the process, including the slowness of the vote count, the absence of Returning Officers with the vote tallies and the media´s exclusion from the announcement of the results.
However, the most important objective should be to restore peace. Regarding the current violence, the candidates have the responsibility to lead and should encourage their followers to follow the rule of law and make their protests known through the judicial process. The Kenyan people have the responsibility to further the democratic process in a non-violent manner.
The ECK must use any prerogatives it has to review its processes and take corrective actions as required. The government must act with restraint in responding to a substantial segment of the Kenyan people who are angry. And finally, if the people of Kenya are committed to democracy they will cease and desist the violent way of protest and follow the rule of law.Top