Krzysztof Lisek, head of EP election observation delegation to Kenya: election day "largely calm and orderly"
NAIROBI, Kenya, March 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Krzysztof Lisek (EPP, PL), head of European Parliament's election observation delegation to Kenya, said on Wednesday in Nairobi that Kenyan people showed "impressive engagement" on 4 March. The election day was "largely calm and orderly" in spite of tragic deaths, he said, and provides a "good basis for erasing the painful memories of 2007 and opening the way to long-lasting peace and stability."
Here is Mr Lisek's full statement:
"The world's eyes focussed on Kenya's 4th of March elections -and the people of Kenya have responded with an impressive engagement on Election Day !
The European Parliament - the only directly elected body of the European Union and representing 500 million European citizens - closely followed these crucial elections for the country. As Chairman of the European Parliament's election observation delegation to Kenya, I have the honour of speaking on behalf of my colleagues, who are coming from six different European countries and are representing four political groups of the Parliament.
During our stay in the country, we met the electoral authorities, representatives of political parties and civil society, as well as observing in Nairobi and in Naivasha on Election Day.
First of all, I would like to align ourselves with the conclusions of the European Union Election Observation Mission and fully endorse the findings presented by the Chief Observer, Mr Alojz Peterle.
According to our observations, the Election Day was largely calm and orderly; even if the day started with the tragic deaths of Kenyans, including police and polling station agents, as well as Red Cross staff in a violent attack in Mombasa. I extend my condolences to the family and loved ones of those killed.
Despite some organisational problems, which resulted in delays at polling stations as well as unnecessarily long queues, Kenya's stakeholders endeavoured to run a successful election. During Election Day we witnessed the confidence of Kenyans in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the transparency and commitment of the staff at the polling stations as well as the determination and patience of the voters.
There are certainly lessons that can be learned, such as the need to test technology thoroughly in advance, the unacceptably high number of disenfranchised especially amongst the youth, and the need to manage queues outside polling stations. Of course, long queues do not merely indicate logistical problems; they are a sign of something encouraging - which is the clear interest of Kenyans to take responsibility for their future by participating in the elections.
We have also seen that women in Kenya have participated in large numbers as voters and in the organisation of the elections. But we would also like to see more women in positions of political leadership at all levels. Therefore we call for the speedy realisation of the principles in the Kenyan Constitution on gender representation in all elective and appointed bodies.
The fact that these elections have so far been rather calm and orderly is a good basis for erasing the painful memories of 2007 and opening the way to long-lasting peace and stability. In order to achieve this all political stakeholders and voters must respect the results of the election and any complaints addressed through the rule of law.
I also want to say that as representatives of European citizens we know that the path to lasting peace is long and difficult. But it can be achieved as has recently been recognised in the award to the EU of the Nobel Peace Prize. We in the European Parliament are ready to work with Kenya in building a prosperous and peaceful future, for the common benefit of our peoples.
To conclude, I would like to point out that the European Parliament's election observation work does not end today. We will pay close attention to the post-electoral situation in the country, and will follow up on the final report of the European Election Observation Mission and its recommendations."