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An International Relations expert, Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso, has said elections observers who were in Kenya to monitor the elections cannot be blamed for claiming that elections were free and fair.
Several people believe that the annulment of Kenya’s August 2017 presidential results by that country’s Supreme Court cast doubts on the credibility of international observers who had earlier said the polls were free and fair.
For instance, speaking to Class 91.3FM’s Dr Etse Sikanku, host of World Affairs on Friday, 1 September minutes after the ruling, Dr Michael Kpessah Whyte, a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana said: “We heard the international community, I mean the US former Secretary of State John Kerry, we heard Thabo Mbeki, our former President John Mahama and others were all in there and they all visited several electoral centres and pronounced this election one of the most credible in the history of that country.”
In light of the contrary view posited by the Supreme Court, Dr Kpessah Whyte said: “We need to see the details of the ruling but this ruling raises a lot of questions about the credibility of international observers and whether they really are looking at substance or they are looking at form and whether they would be relevant going into the future at all.”
But reacting to these comments on GH One television on Friday September 1, Dr Antwi Danso said: “Ninety per cent of situations like this, observers just observe very little. They are in to see whether people are not prevented to vote, they are in to see how people have lined up politely and not be intimidated and then if there are any little infractions they will say.
“So for me, observers do not necessarily become the sole arbiters. I believe they are only observing the free and fairness of it. So we wouldn’t fault the observers…”