24 January 2013

Kenya: EU Poll Observer Mission Roots for Security

Nairobi — The European Union Election Observation Mission says it has channelled its concerns to the government on the need to ensure maximum security in the country ahead of the general election.

Chief observer Alojz Peterle said at a press briefing on Thursday that they had met with the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, who assured them that plans to beef up security ahead of the election were already in motion.

"The elections are taking place in a challenging and sensitive environment and we hope that the presence of independent and impartial EU observers is a positive contribution to the democratic process."

"We wish that these elections are first of all done in a peaceful atmosphere...we also spoke with the Inspector General of Police on security."

The statement by the observer mission comes after heavily disputed party nominations ignited protests in Nyanza, Central and parts of Nairobi.

Peterle urged those unhappy with how the elective process is turning out to follow the set down legal procedures echoing a position taken by Britain's envoy to Kenya Christian Turner.

"There is new law and all the stakeholders have to adapt to these new rules. What is of utmost importance is that the ways which were offered by the new Constitution and other legislations are used in case complaints would appear."

"This is the difference between the situation in 2007 and five years later."

Peterle added: "We are really pleased that many of our recommendations issued after elections in 2007 were taken into consideration and used when changing the Constitution and election legislation."

He reiterated that the EU mission would not interfere in the electoral process as per the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and code of conduct for international election observers.

"All our observers must abide by a code of conduct which insists they remain neutral in the course of their work and do not interfere."

A neutrality, Peterle said, that keeps them from entering the debate on whether or not those facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the 2007 PEV should seek elective positions.

"We do not enter into political debate. We do not give political statements. It is up to the Kenyan people to assess and to decide on this issue."

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