The East African Community (EAC) has pleaded with Kenyans to avoid any poll related violence as the country conducts its repeat presidential election on Thursday.
“We hope the election will be peaceful. Kenyans should not destroy their country because of political power,” said EAC Secretary-General Liberat Mfumukeko.
He said the regional organisation has already deployed an observer mission to Nairobi to monitor the repeat presidential polls, hoping the exercise would be peaceful, fair and free.
“Let us pray the exercise will be carried [out] smoothly so that the country can return to normalcy after hectic campaigns witnessed in the last many days,” the secretary-general said on Monday.
Mr Mfumukeko said Kenya is a key partner in the bloc and EAC is not ready to see a repeat or likelihood of violence during or after the Thursday election.
Elections in Kenya have been marred by violence, mainly along ethnic lines, since the re-introduction of the multi-party system in the 1990s.
Ethnic killings preceded the polls in and when the then ruling Kanu fought its way into power against the revived opposition.
No serious violence was reported during the 2003 polls when Kanu was swept out of power. This also coincided with former President Daniel arap Moi stepping down.
The worst pre- and post-election violence was seen in , following a disputed presidential election. More than 1,300 people were killed and more than 500,000 internally displaced.
During the August 8 polls, whose presidential results were annulled by the Supreme Court, about 50 people reportedly lost their lives in election-related violence, according to human rights activists.
The election observer mission to Nairobi is headed by EAC deputy secretary general (Political Federation) Charles Njoroge and comprises officials from other partner states.
Its deployment is in line with the democratic principles and values espoused in the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC, a regional bloc of six member countries.
In its preliminary report on the August 8 election, EAC called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to devise the best ways to ensure the election process was better managed.
These include delivery of election materials to the polling centres in time, display of registers of voters for easy identification, among others.
Until yesterday, the EAC observer mission was yet to issue and make public its comprehensive final report, which was to provide an in-depth analysis, findings and recommendations.
The repeat presidential election will be held after the Supreme Court of Kenya annulled the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on grounds the exercise was marred by many irregularities and illegalities.
President Kenyatta will run on the Jubilee ticket. His main challenger during the last poll, Raila Odinga of the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa), withdrew from the race.
Nasa and its supporters continue to be critical of the IEBC, saying it cannot hold a credible polls until it is reconstituted.
The Kenyan election is reported to have hurt the activities of the EAC including the inauguration of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala), which has been repeatedly postponed.
Speaking recently, the Tanzania deputy minister for Foreign Affairs and EA Cooperation Suzan Kolimba admitted that the Kenyan politics has stalled the law making process in the Community.
This is due to the fact that Kenya was yet to elect its nominees for Eala despite its Parliament and Senate already back to business after the August 8 General Election.
Nasa has repeatedly urged IEBC to call off the fresh election.