International observers pull surprise move ahead of Thursday election

The observers have left many Kenyans to wonder only hours to the repeat elections.

The Commonwealth has pulled out of the election, citing security fears for its observers.

At the same time, the European Union (EU) Observation Mission to the country has reduced its number of observers in the repeat poll and will now only focus on results transmission and the availability of results forms.

The body said the decision was reached on the basis of political, methodological, and security concerns.

The EU Election Observation Mission  which has been comprehensively observing Kenya's electoral process since June also cited growing criticism of observer missions by a section of the political class.

"We have assessed the safety of our observers considering the extreme tension, disruptions of polling preparations, and strong criticism that has been made of the international community.

"Based on this, we have had to reconsider the extent to which we can observe across the country," EU EOM said.

According to the Nation  the decision by the Commonwealth to withdraw observers resulted from the current political tension in the country as well as the withdrawal of Nasa leader Raila Odinga.

“Everybody cited security fears. They felt it is not safe to observe elections when electoral officials themselves have been targeted,” a senior official in one of the countries affiliated to the Commonwealth told the Nation.

“The Commonwealth is not deploying an election observation group for the presidential election,” a statement from the agency read in part.

On Monday, over 20 foreign envoys sent out a tough warning to politicians, saying they risk plunging the country further into crisis ahead of the repeat poll.

“Kenyans - and particularly Kenya’s politicians - should be careful not to destroy things built over years of hard work and sacrifice.

"It is easier to tear down than to build up. But it is dangerous, and it must stop,” US ambassador Robert Godec, who read a statement on behalf of 20 other foreign envoys at Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi, said.


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