November 23rd 2017

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EU Election Observer Mission proposes reforms in IEBC ahead of October 17 poll

"Let IEBC arrange for constituency tallying centres to project and display the real-time entering of data on forms 34B by ICT clerks," she said in the comprehensive statement.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comThursday, 14 Sep 2017 15:52 EAT

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Chief Observer Marietje Schaake at a past event.

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has released far reaching 18-point recommendations including reforms at IEBC before the October 17 rerun.

EU EOM in the recommendations wants the national stakeholders in the electoral process to develop more detailed and transparent procedures for counting ballots and transmitting results.

Chief Observer Marietje Schaake said this should include unveiling complementary mechanisms for use in case of technology failure.

The observer team also asked the commission to ensure it conducts regular and meaningful stakeholder consultations. The recommendations came in the heels of IEBC failure to meet with NASA Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga and his team for a second time today.

Ms Schaake further rooted for frequent comprehensive public communication targeting political contenders, state agencies, and the media.

"Let IEBC arrange for constituency tallying centres to project and display the real-time entering of data on forms 34B by ICT clerks," she said in the comprehensive statement.

"This will be so that all agents and observers can see what exactly is being tallied."

The observer mission asked parties to ensure they have agents in each tallying centre and polling station to check results accordingly.

While calling for respect for institutions, they asked for thorough investigations into alleged electoral offences for the prosecution of culpable IEBC staff.

NASA has already resolved to institute private criminal prosecution of election agency officials accused of bungling the August vote.

Schaake also wants the government to provide full security for IEBC commissioners and staff.

On the media, she has proposed live coverage of constituency tallying centres to enhance the transparency of the results tallying process.

The report echoed NASA’s concerns that there must be reforms at IEBC and action taken against the officers involved in the poll rigging.

"We demand concerns raised by the chairman (Wafula) Chebukati in the internal memo addressed," said NASA Chief Raila Odinga on Monday in Kibera.

But Jubilee through the Deputy President William Ruto has insisted the country does not have enough time for reforms.

Below are the 18-point recommendations as contained in the document directed to IEBC;

a) Adopt policies and plans for:

          i) Timely reform actions for the re-run

         ii) Regular and meaningful stakeholder consultation and

        iii) Frequent comprehensive public communication.

b) Develop more detailed and transparent procedures for the counting, tallying and results transmission processes (including scanning and the “complementary mechanisms” to be used in case of technology failure). Make these publicly available ahead of the election, and train staff accordingly with clear, unequivocal written instructions.

c) Improve the results transmission software and network selection provision, so that 34A polling station results forms are reliably sent through the KIEMS.

d) Arrange for constituency tallying centres to project and display the real-time entering of data on to 34B forms by ICT clerks, so that all agents and observers can see what exactly is being tallied.

e) Standardize constituency results forms used (34Bs), complete with security features, and take necessary measures for their consistent and accurate use by Returning Officers.

f) Ensure that all form 34Bs and 34As are published on the IEBC website promptly to allow time for checking and preparation of possible petitions. Account for any updates of scans, with time stamps and original copies kept available on the portal.

g) Improve accountability mechanisms for cases when a voter’s biometric data is not matched in the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) kits in polling stations, so there is a complete record of who has voted.

h) Undertake full field pilot testing of procedures and technology. Provide public information on testing processes and results, and follow up with stakeholder discussion.

i) IEBC own and be fully responsible for critical ICT results systems and information and allow controlled stakeholder access and

j) Organise agents in each tallying centre and polling stations and check results accordingly.

EU EOM other than IEBC also proposed action by other arms of government including President Uhuru Kenyatta.

k) Respect institutions “The persistent criticism of the integrity and neutrality of state institutions has negatively affected confidence in the election”

l) Avoid hate speech and use language to build and unite the nation.

m) Undertake thorough investigations of alleged electoral offences in order to promote prosecutions where warranted, including of IEBC staff.

n) Support civil society organisations having full freedom to contribute to the electoral process.

o) Promote accountability in the maintenance of public order. This includes providing information on security force deployment (including command structures), and allowing journalists to provide full coverage.

p) Provide full security for IEBC commissioners and staff.

q) Promote live media coverage of constituency tallying centres to enhance the transparency of the results process.

r) Provide accurate and complete coverage of responses to the results announcement and security measures being taken.

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