Inflammatory statements made during the campaign trail, the unfair access to state resources are just a few of the election negatives that will be addressed when the Commonwealth observer group here presents their final report and recommendation to stakeholders of the 2015 General and Regional Election held two days ago.
The mission told reporters during a press briefing at Cara Lodge, May 13 that the campaign activities were lively and robust but noted the disappointing activities that marred the commitments given when political parties signed Code of Conducts.
As it relates to identifying specific cases, the Chair said comments on this would be in the report, but noted that politics and campaigning, “should be the contest of ideas and not personalities,” so that people can make an informed decision based on policies.
The Chair noted too the allegations of “vote buying and the misuse of state resources to induce voters.” The Media Monitoring Unit’s report of bias reporting and the domination of state owned media is also to be taken into account, as the mission expressed concern about the lack of fair access to this medium by all parties. “This issue is especially concerning considering the fact that all the outlets are also signatories to a Code of Conduct which binds them to balanced, fair, accurate coverage.”
The Commonwealth Chair said a general concern was how quickly rumours could spread around the countryside areas which are not helpful for the election period. These included rumours of ballot box theft among others.
While the general voting process was commended, the mission said it was aware of allegations such as multi-voting but they were not able to verify such. The Chair said irregularities are raised in any election in any country, “but the important thing is whether it has a material impact or affect on the outcome of the election result.”
She opined too that the instance of double voting do not seem to be significant enough to have an impact on the outcome.Acknowledging that the legal framework does not make it easy to have result declarations within a certain time span it was noted that, “it would be preferable to have a smaller interval between the close of polls and the declaration of the official results.”