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Engel Statement on Kenya Elections

Aug 10, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“On Tuesday, millions of Kenyans cast their ballots in a commendable display of civic duty. According to international observer missions, the process largely abided by Kenyan law.

“The International Elections and Boundary Commission (IEBC) staff helped ensure an orderly voting process and secure voting materials to mitigate tampering. Furthermore, the announcement of results at the constituency level and on the electoral commission’s website increased transparency and likely strengthened Kenyan citizens’ faith in the credibility of the polls, which was critical considering irregularities in past elections.

“That said, certain developments around Election Day have raised concerns. An electoral commission manager, Chris Msando, was tortured and murdered the week before the elections. His murder must be investigated and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. In addition, the pre-election raid on opposition offices in Nairobi and the deportation of two American and Canadian consultants assisting the opposition unnecessarily raised tensions in the days before the election. After votes had been cast, the IEBC could have done more to manage expectations about the amount of time the tallying and verification process would take and by clarifying that the results on its website were provisional and not yet final.

“Finally, while Election Day itself was peaceful, protesters have been killed in parts of Kenya. In order to prevent this unrest from spreading, I strongly urge protesters to remain calm as they await the official results from the electoral commission, and I call on Kenyan security forces to refrain from violence while restoring order. Those parties who believe that the electoral process has not been fair should make use of established legal processes to resolve any disputes at the local and national level.

“From what I have observed so far, Kenya has largely turned the page on the electoral violence that followed the 2007 elections. I hope this trend continues and that Kenyan political leaders condemn incitements to violence among their supporters.

“The United States was the leading bilateral donor to this electoral process, and I hope we continue to support Kenya’s democracy into the future.”

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