2017 Kenya polls a ‘major setback’

Last year’s pair of presidential elections amounted to “a major setback in Kenya’s democratic development,” the US-based Carter Centre declared in a report issued on Wednesday.

A man displays indelible ink on his finger after casting his vote at Jomo Kenyatta Sportsground in Kisumu County on August 8, 2017. Photo | Tonny Omondi | nmg   
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Last year’s pair of presidential elections amounted to “a major setback in Kenya’s democratic development,” the US-based Carter Centre declared in a report issued on Wednesday.

The election-monitoring organisation founded by former US President Jimmy Carter placed the blame for that outcome primarily on Kenya’s top politicians.

“The key political leaders repeatedly took steps that harmed the process, taking hardline positions, failing to seek common ground, and using inflammatory and divisive political rhetoric,” the Carter Centre said in its 46-page final report on the 2017 Kenyan elections.

In its indictment of the country’s political elite, the centre cited “harsh attacks by top political leaders on electoral and judicial authorities that seriously undermined the independence of the country’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.”

READ: US should apply more pressure on Kenya, ex-envoys say

The report further excoriated the “confrontational tactics and actions of Kenya’s political leaders.” Their irresponsible behaviour “polarised the country and exposed the deep tribal and ethnic rifts that have long characterized its politics,” the Carter Centre added.

The report did not specifically name President Uhuru Kenyatta, opposition leader Raila Odinga or any of their respective deputies and allies in criticising the conduct of elections that “damaged Kenya’s key democratic institutions and its social cohesion.”

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