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Commonwealth withdraws observers from repeat poll

The Commonwealth has made a last minute surprise decision by pulling out of the forthcoming repeat presidential poll, citing security concerns for its observers.

On the other hand,The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has reduced the number of observers it will deploy for Thursday’s poll citing the same reasons.

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Speaking to the Daily Nation,envoy sources said that the decision by commonwealth to withdraw observers resulted from the uncertainty that has punctuated the impending poll coupled with the dramatic withdrawal of Nasa leader Raila Odinga.

European Union 2017 elections Chief Observer Marietje Schaake during a press conference at a Nairobi Hotel | PHOTO COURTESY-The Star

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

The Commonwealth, which brings together the UK and most British colonies such as Kenya (and also includes Rwanda and Mozambique, former Belgian and Portuguese colonies) has been a perennial election observer in Kenya since the advent of multiparty politics.

The EU EOM also cited political, methodological, and security fears as reasons that influenced their decision to downsize their observer group.

In the changes announced in a statement on Tuesday, the EU observer mission said it will focus its observation of the upcoming poll on systemic issues.

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