Election observers happy with Kenyan polls, want peaceful transfer of power

2 main presidential candidates neck and neck in race marred by low turnout.

Election observers happy with Kenyan polls, want peaceful transfer of power

Election observers on Thursday commended the people of Kenya and the electoral commission for conducting free, fair and credible elections on Tuesday.

As of Thursday, it was still a two-horse race between former Foreign Minister Raila Odinga, 77, and Deputy President William Ruto, 66.

As of 3 p.m. (1200GMT) East African time on Thursday, Kenya’s Nation news reported that Odinga had 6.1 million votes, while Ruto bagged 5.96 million votes.

“We’re satisfied with the process this far,” former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, who is leading the East African Community (EAC) Observer Mission, told a press briefing in Nairobi.

“We are concerned about the lower voter registration by young people. Against the expected 6 million young voters, only 3 million registered. This should concern everyone that young people are not participating in the process,” Kikwete said, showing concern about the social media misinformation.

The EAC observer mission urged the Kenyan citizens to remain peaceful as the East African country still awaits the conclusion of the election process.

Observers from America’s International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) urged patience on Thursday and called on the current government to prepare for handing over the power peacefully to whoever wins.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development Election Observation Mission (IGAD-EOM) with participation from six member states – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda – also commended Kenya for successful elections.

“The IGAD-EOM commends the Kenyan people for the patience and commitment they have shown in the Aug. 9, 2022, general elections,” Workneh Gebeyehu, who was Ethiopia’s foreign minister from 2016 to 2019, said on behalf of the mission.

Kenya’s polls have been marred by a historic low voter turnout, according to the country’s electoral commission.

Two hours before the polls closed on Tuesday, the commission recorded a 56.17% voter turnout, figures which cannot compare to Kenya’s past two elections.

Kenya’s voting process was run across 46,229 polling stations, and the public cast ballots for the president, governors, members of parliament, and members of county assemblies.

The general elections were monitored by 18,000 observers, including 1,300 international observers.

Hüseyin Demir