Different election observer missions have praised Kenyans for being peaceful during the campaign period and the days after the March 4th general elections.
The African Union Observer mission led by former Mozambique President, Joaquim Chissano, lauded the bodies concerned with the elections for the good work so far done despite the various hitches experienced since voting day.
The mission also said that it was impressed with the high voter turnout. Despite violent incidences in the Coastal areas and North Eastern region on polling day, Chissano says voters were still enthusiastic to exercise their democratic right. At least 15 people were killed in separate incidents on polling day, six of whom were police officers who were ambushed near Mombasa.
The observer mission expressed concern on the high number of rejected votes which it attributes to inadequate voter education. The Independent Election and Borders Commission (IEBC) had about 30 days to conduct civic education which turns out not to have been adequate. Provisional results indicate that up to 330,000 votes are classified as rejected or invalid.
The Commonwealth Observer mission to Kenya led by former Botswana President Festus Mogae is also happy with the peaceful elections and high voter turnout.
Mogae noted that there was public confidence in IEBC in this election compared to the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya that handled the disputed 2007 general elections. Mogae reminded politicians of the legal means of addressing electoral disputes as opposed to taking to the streets. He said that results were slowly trickling in at the tally center but called for calm. He called upon IEBC to be transparent while transmitting the results.
On Wednesday morning, IEBC changed the manner in which the results are being transmitted to the tally center. Now, the Returning Officers from all 290 constituencies are required to make their way to Nairobi with the hard copies of results. By 2pm on Wednesday, only 53 returning officers had reached Nairobi.
With 40% of the polling stations counted, Uhuru Kenyatta is leading with 52% of the vote while Raila Odinga has 43%. However, results from Odinga’s strongholds, including the Coast Province, have not yet come in.
Over 22,600 observers, both local and international have been accredited by Kenya’s electoral body to oversee the elections.
At least 1300 people were killed in the violence which broke out after the December 2007 elections, with Odinga claiming he had been cheated of victory by supporters of President Mwai Kibaki. Kibaki is stepping down after 10 years in office.