Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kenya: Western envoys call for building confidence in electoral system

Eleven Western Diplomats on Wednesday asked Kenyans to build confidence in the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) insisting that reforms must be anchored on the Constitution as the country readies itself for general Elections on August 2017.The envoys encouraged Kenyan leaders and citizens to dialogue and build confidence in the electoral system at a time when the opposition and government trade barbs over the disbandment of IEBC as the country shifts into campaign modes.

“Decisions on questions such as the future of the IEBC’s leadership must be broadly acceptable, achieved through dialogue, and made in accord with Kenya’s constitution and laws,â€� the envoys said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The envoys sentiments after the opposition last week staged protests in Nairobi calling for the disbandment of IEBC on grounds it’s dictated by the jubilee government and cannot be trusted to handle the next elections.

On the other hand, President Uhuru Kenyatta has condemned the opposition demands and urged the opposition to remove the electoral body constitutionally, by tabling a petition in parliament.

“To ensure a credible, peaceful poll in 2017, we call on Kenya’s leaders and citizens to come together through dialogue to build confidence in the electoral system,â€� the envoys added.

They committed to supporting Kenyan ahead of the critical elections billed to be one of the most competitive and expensive poll in the country’s history disclosing that they funding technical assistance, civic education, and conflict mitigation efforts.

“We will continue to engage with Kenyan leaders, citizens, and organizations across the country in the months ahead,� they pointed out.

The statement was signed by the envoys of US, UK, France, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Australia.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who will be running for second and final term in office is expected to face it off in a ‘do or die’ duel with opposition Chief Raila Odinga in what is widely considered to be his last chance on account of his age. Mr Odinga, 72 will be making his fourth stab at the Presidency in the August 27 polls

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