IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati photo:courtesy
Individuals gunning for public office have been challenged to defuse political tension and avoid whipping up ethnic emotions.
Various players at the three-day National Elections Conference told the 14,552 candidates cleared to run for 1,882 seats that every election must have winners and losers, adding that those who fail should not incite their supporters.
There was overriding consensus that peace would be upheld if the August 8 elections are conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.
The polls will be held about ten years after the December 2007 General Election that threw Kenya into chaos, leading to over 1,000 deaths.
Players asked the electoral agency to take action against politicians who break election laws. To this end, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced it was pulling all stops to deliver foolproof polls.
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati expressed his team’s unwavering commitment to deliver a free, fair and credible election.
“I urge all of us to work together in the next 55 days towards a transparent, just and peaceful electoral process. Let us desist from the politics of division and embrace the politics of unity,” he said.
“Do not let this election be a pretext that threatens communities that have always lived in peace. Let us protect women, children and the vulnerable from violence and threats of violence. And let the young people, stand up to be counted as agents of peace and democracy.”
The agency said it was putting in place a more reliable electronic system for voter identification and results transmission. It said it would carry out a series of tests on the technology before the election to ensure its reliable.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had been listed to make opening remarks alongside Opposition chief Raila Odinga, skipped the all-important summit.
The President sent National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale to represent him.
“Unfortunately, due to unavoidable circumstances, I am unable to sign our commitment to peaceful elections at this point in time. But pledge to sign it at the earliest opportunity as soon as I am back in Nairobi. Let me emphasise again that we as Jubilee are committed to free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful elections,” said Uhuru in the statement.