State warns diplomats against interfering with elections

The government on Wednesday evening issued a veiled warning to diplomats and foreign entities against interfering with the elections, even as debate on the electoral commission’s tendering for ballot papers gathered steam.

At a scheduled briefing for envoys accredited to Nairobi, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma invited them to support and audit the elections, but insisted there should be “space” for Kenyans to choose their leaders.

“Our election is the reaffirmation of the deepening governance on our continent.

We express our commitment, as had been repeatedly expressed by the President, to an election that is free, fair, transparent and credible; and most fundamentally, that will reflect the will of the people,” she told the ambassadors gathered at Intercontinental Hotel on Wednesday.

Dr Juma was accompanied by Interior PS Karanja Kibicho, Solicitor-General Njee Muturi, IEBC Commissioner Boya Molu and Registrar of the Magistrate Court Caroline Kabucho. 

EXTERNAL INFLUENCE

The envoys included US Ambassador Robert Godec, British High Commissioner Nic Hailey, EU’s Stefano Dejak, South Africa’s Anita Mqulwana, Tanzania’s Pindi Hazara Chana and Ugandan High Commissioner Angelina Wapakhabulo, who chairs the Dean of Diplomatic Corps in Nairobi.

But while the PS did not speak directly at any of these countries, she appeared to issue an indirect reprimand against possible external influence on the elections.

Ahead of the August 8 elections, the debate has been whether the IEBC is ready and whether the law is being followed to procure all relevant material.

The opposition National Super Alliance has opposed the tender for ballot papers given directly to Emirati firm Al Ghurair.

READY FOR POLLS

At this meeting though, Kenya government officials from Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry and the Attorney-General’s Office said the country was ready for elections.

Mr Muturi said: “The important thing is the institution, IEBC, needs to be supported… the people, and the new commissioners need to be supported. It will be unfortunate if we nit-pick at every stage to challenge their credibility yet they are new in office.”

Wednesday’s forum comes a day after regional bloc Igad warned unnamed foreign donors against “interfering” with the forthcoming elections in Kenya.

In a dispatch on Monday, the seven-member grouping of African nations in the Horn of Africa said foreigners should leave it to Kenyans to determine their leaders on August 8.

CLOSED CONFERENCE

Meanwhile, the electoral agency on Wednesday closed a three-day conference on its poll preparedness with a pledge to conduct an open and credible process.

It said it had put its best foot forward, trained its staff and had technology ready for deployment on Election Day.

On Wednesday, also, was the day Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet received the most flak for zoning the country into “violence hotspots” ahead of the polls.

And it was the last day of the National Elections Conference at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

Integration agency chairman Francis ole Kaparo received the loudest applause for his no-holds-barred assessment of Kenya’s value system.

MP proposes half-public, half-private schools

Nation’s hopes rest on Chebukati leadership