The East African Community (EAC) team which is in Kenya to observe the General Election has described the Tuesday exercise as credible, save for social media misinformation.
Led by former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, the EAC Observer Mission on Thursday said its 52 observers deployed across the country had assessed the exercise from campaigns, delivering of polling materials, voting, up to results management at polling stations.
“Campaigns were conducted in a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Parties and candidates had the opportunity to campaign freely, although there were reports of some challenges and incidents encountered by some parties and some members, they do not reflect the whole election process,” Mr. Kikwete said.
The former Tanzanian leader who was presenting the preliminary report of the EAC Observer Mission pointed out disinformation, misinformation and hate speech on social media as some of the major challenges recorded during the election period.
He commended faith-based and civil society organisations, as well as the media in promoting peace ahead and during the polls.
“The mission commends the mainstream media for the important contribution they have made towards addressing some of these challenges.
“We also commend the wonderful work they have done on voter education and coverage of the electoral process. We hope they will continue to do so after the election results are declared,” said Kikwete.
At the same time, Kikwete further noted that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had improved in transparency, preparation and management of the elections, but noted that more needed to be done for a smoother process.
“In future, there should be better communication by the IEBC and the various stakeholders… IEBC should take corrective measures to ensure that these deficiencies (in polling station delays) do not occur again,” he stated.
The EAC Observer Mission said it was able to observe elections in 218 polling stations.
They also undertook consultations with election stakeholders such as IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati, IEBC commissioners, Chief Justice Martha Koome, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, the media and other observer groups among others.
Voter tallying across the country entered the second day on Thursday, with returning officers issuing final results for Member of Parliament seats.
The electoral body is meanwhile expected to have announced the results for all the various seats, including the president, by Monday, August 15 as the law gives it seven days to tally and announce the results.