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Observers fight back criticism over polls report

By Moses Nyamori | September 5th 2017

Election observers are fighting a barrage of criticism for giving the August 8 elections a clean bill of health despite some irregularities.

The Supreme Court’s decision last Friday to annul the presidential election has put both international and local observers on the spot, with hard questions being asked about what informed their preliminary approval reports.

In a press briefing on Monday, Elections Observation Group (Elog) defended its report, stating that it was based on facts collected by its observers in sampled polling stations across the country.

The group had 8,300 observers across all 47 counties and 290 constituencies. Of these, 1,703 conducted a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) exercise whose results matched the official results released by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Results tallied

The group insisted that the voting process went on well but noted that it was not in a position to pronounce itself on what transpired at the results transmission stage.

“Elog could not pronounce itself to the results transmission process and the electronic processing of data since that was beyond the scope of the observation tool,” said Regina Olando, the Elog Steering Committee chairperson, in Nairobi.

In its report, the group had indicated that the results captured by IEBC in forms 34A tallied with what its agents collected from some of the polling stations.

A similar defence has been issued by the European Union Election Observation Mission, which said its preliminary report covered the process up to the counting of votes.

“The EU EOM’s preliminary statement was presented on August 10, commenting on the entire electoral process up to and including counting,” said the mission that was headed by Chief Observer Marietje Schaake.

Other organisations that gave the polls a clean bill of health include the Carter Centre and the African Union Observer mission.

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