- Last Updated on 07 March 2013
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Observers of the ongoing Kenyan election have lauded the Kenyan election which saw queues spanning for kilometres on the morning of March 4, 2013. Zimbabweans observing the election have commended the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for a transparent process which saw the inclusion of 1000 international and 100 000 local observers according to the Election Resource Centre (ERC).
The Kenyan government started preparations for the elections as early as 2010 acquiring bank loans to meet the poll budget which is estimated at US$209 million (17.5 billion shillings). This stands as a shocking comparison to the Zimbabwean situation where sourcing of funds for a possible June election has only started this year.
A reported estimate of US$14,3million was used in the 30day voter registration process which was conducted to ensure a new and clean voter's roll. The voting processes included biometric vetting to ensure increased security of the voter's roll and eliminate the duplicates and any attempts on electoral fraud. In Zimbabwe mobile voter registration has since been suggested and is yet to be implemented.
Speaking to the Crisis report team from Kenya, Election Resource Centre Director, Tawanda Chimhini commended the election process.
"Everything went well procedurally. The Election board had adequate resources for the election allowing them to create a fresh voter's roll which was hosted online and anyone could access it and confirm their registration as a voter making the processes a transparent one, € said Chimhini.
Challenges however have come up with the use of the electronic voting systems reportedly caused by a system overload as more voters turned up than was initially anticipated. This has had ballots being delivered to the Bomas of Kenya for a manual counting process.
"The technical difficulties are a cause of concern, people are now anxious about the results and this has caused speculations to start among the Kenyans with others thinking that the technical difficulties are a ploy to allow vote tampering. Many including myself do not believe that there is any need for concern and have faith in the process which was test driven and proved its efficiency in the 2010 referendum, € said Chimhini.
The African Union Election Observation Mission (AU EOM) led by former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano also reportedly praised the process noting that the polling stations were open in time with more Kenyans than expected turning up to vote.
"While the mission notes the challenges involved in the conduct of the historical 2013 elections, in the aftermath of the 2007 experience, it commends the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and other relevant agencies such as the Judiciary, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the Registrar of Political Parties for the successful conduct of the elections, € Chissano stated.
Zimbabwean observers of the Kenyan election have called on the Zimbabwean Election Commission (ZEC) to embrace technology and ensure a transparent and inclusive process in order for the upcoming Zimbabwean election to have integrity.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson and Bulawayo Agenda (BA) Director Thabani Nyoni commented on the developments in Kenya and the transition in Zimbabwe which is on the home stretch to elections expected later in 2013.
"First of all the Kenyan process is likely to be far better than ours because they took more than a year harmonizing their new constitution with current laws. They also managed to reform key electoral institutions such as the Judiciary, the electoral commission and even the police.
"The other advantage is that the incumbent president is not contesting in the next election and this brings in new dimensions and a certainty in power transfer.
"Concerns about violence have been raised and we think that they are legitimate; they have kept the parties under pressure in terms of repeating 2007. We can only hope that elections in Kenyan will reflect the will of the Kenyan people and thus shift the pressure back to Zimbabwe.
"A credible process in Kenya is likely to inspire a new belief in Zimbabweans that they can also produce a similar process, € said Nyoni.
Human Rights Defender, Lovemore Chinoputsa, the former Secretary General of the Zimbabwe National Students Union and former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) SRC President, commented:
"We are miles apart from the Kenyan situation in that the necessary reforms will not be able to be implemented in the few months we are left with to elections in Zimbabwe. But I think ZEC especially can take a cue from the transparent manner in which the election is being held. €
At the time of publication, Uhuru Kenyatta was ahead at 53% to 42% over his main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, with a little more than 40% of the vote counted, according to the election commission website.
The winning candidate must get more than 50% of the total votes cast and at least 25% of votes in half of the 47 counties.If there is no clear winner, a second round of voting will take place, probably on 11 April.