Carter Centre calls for dialogue to ensure credible repeat poll

The Carter Centre has urged political leaders in Kenya to engage in dialogue in the limited time remaining before the scheduled repeat presidential poll tomorrow.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Centre observed that there is “increased insecurity, a lack of dialogue, and narrowing prospects for a credible presidential election on October 26”.

It said that leaders should use the limited time before the repeat poll to dialogue and find an mutually agreeable way forward in order to allow IEBC conduct the election in a peaceful environment.

The statement further observed that a recent statement by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati to the effect that “IEBC is technically prepared to conduct the polls” show that the commission cannot conduct a credible election due to the current political impasse.

DELAY POLL

The Centre also observed that cases pending before the Supreme Court could result in a decision to delay the election. If that happens, the Carter Centre says the resultant delay should be used to ensure that political leaders and IEBC quickly agree on how a competitive, inclusive, and credible election can be held as soon as possible.

In its September 1 ruling annulling the August 8 presidential election, the Supreme Court ordered IEBC to conduct a fresh election in 60 days which expire on October 31.

“Given the heightened political tensions, it is imperative that Kenya’s political leaders find a mutually acceptable path forward for holding credible democratic elections,” said former US President Jimmy Carter.

“If sanctioned by the Supreme Court, the main political leaders should signal their support for a short delay in the [election] to allow space for renewed dialogue and to agree on any additional electoral reforms necessary to enable credible [election],” Mr Carter added.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice David Maraga certified as urgent a case by three voters seeking to stop the Thursday repeat presidential poll.

The three moved to court arguing that the prevailing environment in the country cannot guarantee a credible election.

OBSERVATION MISSION

At the same time, the Carter Centre announced that due to the heightened political tensions in Kenya, it will not deploy a full election observation mission for the October 26 election.

It will instead deploy a limited observation mission with 10 long-term observers and a small team of election experts to assess the general electoral environment.

The experts will also assess key procedural changes made by IEBC, especially in relation to tallying processes at the constituency tallying centres.

On the ongoing demonstrations by Nasa supporters, the Carter Centre urged security agents to act with restraint when dealing with the protestors.

“If there are disruptions, it is incumbent upon President Uhuru Kenyatta and other state actors to exercise restraint when confronted by citizens who are exercising their right to protest peacefully,” the Centre said in its statement.

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