Strasbourg: The European parliament is scheduled to discuss the situation in Kenya, days after their mission published a report on its observations during the two rounds of presidential elections last year. The parliament is meeting in Strasbourg, France, and is scheduled to hold the discussions. Marietje Schaake, who was the chief observer for the European Union Election Observation Mission in Kenya, is among those looking forward to the discussions.
Schaake last week clashed with the Kenyan government after she released the observation mission’s report in Brussels after a dispute with the authorities in Nairobi. While she claimed that the government had said it was not ready to receive the mission, the government said releasing the report without its input was unprocedural, condescending and disdainful. Schaake said that with the deadline agreed in June last year fast approaching, she had no option but to release the report from a “remote” location.
Kenya’s Ambassador to Belgium, Johnson Weru, said it was actually Schaake who had gone against the memorandum of agreement. The final report, uploaded on the EU website after Schaake’s address, has 29 recommendations which the observers say Kenya has to implement if it has to improve its election procedures.
They include strengthening independent institutions, promoting democracy within political parties, and developing the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation into a “genuine public service broadcaster with full editorial and financial independence”.
The observers question a long-held requirement that people aspiring to be leaders need not be bankrupt. They also wonder why there are educational requirements for vying. The EU also accuses Jubilee of using its incumbency to abuse state resources. “However,” the report adds, “the advantages of incumbency at county level were evidently to the benefit of both political camps. During the 141 rallies watched by observers, 27 instances of misuse of State resources in 16 counties were witnessed.
“These included 18 instances involving Jubilee and four involving Nasa. This primarily concerned the use of official county and national government vehicles to and from campaign events, including one military helicopter in Makueni County.”