Zovko a member of the European Parliament’s Election Observation Delegation for Kenya general elections 2017
Nairobi, 12 August 2017 – The member of the European Parliament, Željana Zovko, was in Nairobi, Kenya, from 5th to 11th August as a member of the European Parliament’s Election Observation Delegation for Kenya general elections 2017. The head of the Delegation was David McAllister (EPP, DE). Besides MEP Zovko, other members of the Delegation were: Joachim Zeller (EPP, DE), Julie Ward (S&D, UK), Tanja Fajon (S&D, SL), Bernd Lucke (ECR, DE) and Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL, FR).
During their stay in Kenya, the EP members met with representatives of the political parties, the electoral commission, the judiciary, the media, religious leaders, civil society, and other international observation delegations. Their main task was to observe the conduct of these highly competitive and closely contested elections which have drawn the attention regionally and of the wider international community.
Kenyans used their democratic right and came out in large numbers on Election Day. It is very important that women in Kenya participated in large numbers as voters and in the organisation of the elections. Their determination had to overcome substantial challenges including intimidation. The EP members called upon all political parties to ensure that women’s participation in political life was enhanced in line with the Kenyan Constitution and said they expected the new parliament to adopt legislation to ensure that the two-thirds gender principle was implemented and the new government to act accordingly by appointing women at local and national levels, including to the highest positions of leadership.
Although Kenyan stakeholders have endeavoured to run a successful election, preparations for the elections have once again been challenging, conducted under very tight timelines and a source of contention. The lead up to the elections witnessed intimidation and even included the shocking murder of a leading official of the electoral commission. The EP members strongly condemned such acts and stressed that those responsible should be prosecuted.
The EP members commended the strong efforts of the IEBC and judiciary to work within the legal framework, uphold the rule of law and carry out their roles independently in this complex electoral environment. They pointed out that the role of, and reliance on, technology in the election process was the focus of much pre-election anxiety and the focus of a high degree of scrutiny on election day. They urged candidates and parties to let the IEBC to carry out its work, to use the legally provided channels of the resolution in case of any dissatisfaction with the process.
The EP members assured the Kenyans that in pursuing their future, they could fully rely on the European Parliament which was committed to supporting Kenya along its democratic path.
The EU EOM deployed over 130 observers to different parts of Kenya to observe election day activities, including voting, counting and the tallying of the results. Observers came from all 28 Member States of the EU, as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland. The EU EOM will continue observing the process independently and impartially, including the phases of tabulation of results and treatment of appeals until after the proclamation of the final results. A final report with recommendations will be released some two months after the process.
After the election day Zovko said: “It was really impressive to see Kenyans waiting for hours, sometimes even for four hours, from the early morning to use their democratic right to vote. The most important thing for the country after proclamation of the final result and findings of the Electoral Commission is to preserve peace and unity and continue being a role-model of democracy and stability in this part of Africa.”