The regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) has warned unnamed foreign donors against “interfering” with the forthcoming elections in Kenya.
In a dispatch, the seven-member grouping of African nations in the Horn of Africa said every foreign actor should leave it to Kenyans to determine their leaders on August 8.
“The Igad Summit encourages Kenyans to be peaceful during the electioneering period, and calls upon external actors to respect the sovereign rights of Kenyans to choose their own leaders without interference,” the bloc said in a communique on Monday.
Earlier this week, Igad met in Addis Ababa to discuss the conflict situation in South Sudan where more than 1.3 million have fled the country and tens of thousands others killed since 2013.
After the meeting, the communique focused mostly on South Sudan ‘condemning’ the violence and ‘urging’ parties to choose dialogue. Igad is composed of Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.
The statement was approved by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn, his Somali counterpart Hassan Ali Khaire, South Sudan First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, and Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf
But Kenya which was represented at the meeting by Foreign Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed presented a report detailing its readiness to hold credible elections on August 8.
That the bloc reprimanded foreign donors indicates a consistent pattern by African organisations, and Kenya government officials, to accuse foreign bodies, mainly from the West of interfering with local elections.
In Kenya’s elections, Western donors have mostly been supporting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to prepare for elections as well as send observers to check on their credibility.
With a total support $24 million (Sh27.7 billion), donors UNDP, UK, US and the EU, the programme involves training and support for the IEBC and other government departments involved in securing elections, as well as supporting women to contest.
In the last elections in 2013, the US in particular and Western powers in general, came under criticism for insisting on essential contacts at the time President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto were facing charges at the International Criminal Court.
And while the African Union last year called for reforms in the IEBC, the continental body has often seen Kenya’s past elections as credible even where parties complain.