The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) to Kenya has given the heavily contested August 2022 General Election a clean bill of health, coming a year after Kenyans went to the ballot.

The final report by the observers from the Commonwealth on the election that saw William Ruto declared duly elected to become Kenya’s fifth president was released on Wednesday.

The 15-member team led by former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding concluded that the poll was “credible, transparent, inclusive and largely peaceful despite some challenges.”

The observers lauded the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) bosses and electoral staff for how they handled the complex logistical operation during the August vote.

“Whilst acknowledging significant improvements in the deployment of electoral technologies compared to the previous election, the Group identified some areas for improvement, including the delays towards the end of the results announcement process and a need to improve transparency regarding the finalisation of the voter register,” said the observers in a statement.

The Group says it deployed 14 teams from August 7-9, 2022 to Nairobi (including Kiambu), Central (Nyeri, Kitui and Meru), Coast (Mombasa), North Eastern (Machakos), Nyanza (Kisumu, Kisii), Rift Valley (Nakuru, Eldoret, Kitale and West Pokot) and Western Region (Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia).

COG says it submitted its final report the Government of Kenya and other stakeholders as a follow up to its interim findings released on August 11, 2022 after the presidential election.

The report urged IEBC, civil society and Kenya to enhance voter education and political parties to meaningfully engage the youth throughout the poll cycle to tackle voter apathy.

The Group called for full implementation of key constitutional and legislative provisions, including the two-thirds gender rule and the 2013 Elections Campaign Financing Act.

The report further called for IEBC to get most of its funding earlier on in the electoral cycle to be in control and adequately execute its election and boundary delimitation functions.

“The Commonwealth Observer Group played a crucial role during the elections. I applaud their efforts and I hope that their recommendations will be received in the Commonwealth spirit of constructive engagement as part of efforts to improve future electoral processes,” Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said.

She added: “I will personally be following Kenya’s progress in implementing the Observer Group’s recommendations, and the Commonwealth Secretariat will continue to offer all necessary support to the people and government of Kenya in their journey of democratic development through our whole-of-election cycle approach.”