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13th Apr 2024

EU alarmed at post-election violence in Kenya

The European Union has cast doubt over Kenya's presidential election results and urged local leaders to prevent violence and uphold the country's status as a "model of democracy in an already fragile region."

Situated on the east coast of Africa with population of around 35 million, Kenya has plunged into unrest following the 27 December poll in which incumbent president Mwai Kibaki was declared a winner despite opposition leader Raila Odinga's claims of victory.

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The EU's chief monitor of the elections, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, expressed concern over irregularities in the poll saying it had "fallen short of key international and regional standards for democratic elections," according to media reports.

"They [the elections] were marred by a lack of transparency in the processing and tallying of presidential results, which raises concerns about the accuracy of the final results," the EU team said in a statement.

The EU officials highlighted differences in figures announced in at least two provinces - Molo and Kieni - with the final result sheets published in the country's capital Nairobi claiming significantly better scores for Mr Kibaki, the BBC reported.

"It is important that these irregularities are addressed through dialogue and the appropriate appeal process so as to ensure that the election result is supported by all," stated the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

He called on "the political leadership to work in a spirit of unity to that end," adding "In an already fragile region, it is important that Kenya upholds its status as a model of democracy."

Violent protests against the election fraud have left almost 350 people dead and tens of thousands displaced, according to AFP.

On Tuesday (1 January), at least 35 children and adults sheltering in a church near the western town of Eldoret were burnt alive by an angry mob, with the country's political leaders blaming each other for inciting ethnic clashes.

Before the disputed election, Kenya was considered as one of Africa's more politically-stable countries. According to analysts, the recent events could negatively affect its role as a regional hub for multinational companies, NGOs and the United Nations.

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