«INTERNATIONAL ELECTIONS OBSERVING» (using Kenya as a case study)In this study I am going to examine why international election observers (IEO) arrive atparticular conclusion. International election observers are external actors invited or accredited by an election authority in a country holding an election to impartially observe and verify whether the election is conducted in a free and fair manner. There observations are usually summed up in a statement which is reffered to a conclusion in this study.The use of international election observers as witnesses to elections, has been rapidly expanding in the last decade as a result of political changes which have been taking place in Eastern Europe, Africa, South and Central America and some parts of Asia. In these regions countries are attempting to move from one-party/millitary regimes to more open multi-party democracy. International election orbservers are usually invited to observer elections that mark this regime transition, though as in the case of the 1994 elections in Mexico, they do observe 'normal' elections.Recently international election observers have been criticised for not carrying their work satisfactorily. One of the main criticism has been that some international election observers tend to arrive at conclusions that contradict their observations and in some cases where several missions are involved, they tend to have different conclusions. Critics argue further that the reasons why IEOs arrive at such conclusions is; that they tend to let their political role, letting political considerations like, the future stability of the country, override their technical role, that involves impartially observing and reporting whether an election is free and fair or not, secondly, they lack uniform international standards that define what constitutes a free and fair election and thirdly, the extent of coverage of the electoral process and the size of the missions is inadequate compared to the size of the country and complexity of the electoral exercise.My main objective is to examine whether the political role played by observes, the standards they use and their coverage of the election explain why they arrive at conclusions that are inconsistent and different. To examine these factors I have chosen the of the 1992 elections in Kenya, which was observed by international election observers, as a case study. Empirical data was collected from documented sources; observer reports, statements, press clips, and supplemented primary data collected using a questionnaire sent to international election observers who observed the election in Kenya.I developed a conceptual framework based on the emerging literature of international election observing in which the main variables are discussed and operationalised to the extent possible. I have used indicators developed in this framework to examine whether the empirical data contains evidence to support the arguments posed by critics.The empirical data, show that there is substantially evidence to support the arguement that when observers let their political role override their judgement which should be based on their technical role, they tend to arrive at conclusions that are inconsistent to their observations and different to observer missions who base their conclusions on their technical role.Where it concerns the lack of uniform international standards, the tendency is no tclaer due to the almost similar practise by most of the missions. Missions even when they stated that they are going to use international standards or country specific standards, the tendency was to review the country specific standards against some international standards which are usually not specified. When I looked at the actual elements and procedures observer observe in an elections, they were similar, the major difference being what phase the mission was observing. Those that observed the electoral process tended to observe the same elements, those who observed the election day only tended to observe the same elements as the latter with the exeption of the pre-election phase. Indications are that what might explain the inconsistencies and differences is the difficulties verification, which meant observers were not uncertain and less specific in their conclusion.The problem of verification is connected also with the inadequate coverage. There are indications that due the small sizes missions their conclusions were based on a small sample to be representative, therefore even the conclusion were more consistent with the observation its validity was questionable. There was also a clear difference in the conclusion of those groups that observed the electoral process and those that observed the election day. Those that observed the election day tended to conclude favourable for the elections, while those that observed the whole process tended to be more hesitant and inconsistent. The main reason for could be the fact that all missions observed the election day to be relatively free and fair despite numerous administrative problems, while pre-election phase was observed to be general flawed.