Nasa faults observers for giving polls clean bill of health

Monday August 14 2017

Kenya's National Super Alliance (NASA) opposition coalition member Musalia Mudavadi (R) speaks during a press conference, next to NASA's presidential candidate Raila Odinga (L) on August 10, 2017 in Nairobi. AFP PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA

By Samwel Owino

Kenya opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) has criticised observers for giving the just-concluded General Election a clean bill of health despite concerns raised by Nasa.

The party's deputy chief agent James Orengo said the observers have been a great disappointment over their remarks regarding the polls.

Mr Orengo, who is also the Siaya senator, said in future, observers should be vetted to check whether they have any relationship with the government of the day before being sent to the country.

“Some of them just have big names but have nothing to offer on matters of observing the elections,” said Mr Orengo. “They can do what they want to do or say whatever they want but they should not tell us to go to court because it is not our option.”

Mr Orengo described former South African President Thabo Mbeki as a great patriot but he should have been vetted before being sent to the country.

READ: Kenya opposition disputes polls results on delayed transmission


African Union

“I have a lot of respect for Mr Mbeki as he is a statesman and a patriot but the African Union should have vetted him before sending him to Kenya,” said Mr Orengo.

The harsh criticism against the international observers comes after all of them praised the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for conducting free and fair elections despite the issues raised by the opposition.

READ: Raila: I am disappointed with Kerry, poll observers

At the same time, Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary-general Francis Atwoli said the observers should have done more research and background checks before making their final comments on the elections.

“You don’t just visit one primary school where voting takes place and make a conclusion that everything is right. I have been an observer in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana, and my experience is that one needs to do a lot of background checks on the electoral system of that particular country before making the final conclusion. The observers did not do their work properly,” Mr Atwoli told a press conference on Sunday.


On Thursday, Mr Mbeki commended the way the IEBC conducted the polls.

The East African Community Election Observation Mission also praised the IEBC for ensuring well-organised elections despite facing several challenges.

“The mission would like to congratulate the people of Kenya for conducting peaceful elections thus far. We commend the IEBC for ensuring that overall law and order prevailed throughout the electoral process observed,” said Prof Edward Rugumayo, the head of the mission.

READ: Igad compliments Kenya's electoral agency over polls

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who headed the Carter Centre observer mission, said: “The process that was put in place is proving its value thus far. Kenya has made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy and the character of that democracy. Don’t let anybody besmirch that.”