President Uhuru Kenyatta photo:courtesy
President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to concede defeat if he loses the August 8 presidential election and challenged the Opposition to make the same commitment in the interest of peace.
President Kenyatta said that should Kenyans elect a fresh leadership, he would ensure a smooth transition to his successor.
Addressing the nation at the Eldoret State Lodge, the Head of State condemned threats on the Independent and Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and asked politicians to give the commission space to prepare for polls.
“Tell me on August 8 that you want fresh leadership, I will humbly stand aside and ensure a respectful and peaceful transition of power and urge my successor to love and care for this great nation as I have tried to do,” Uhuru said.
He said the country enjoyed a unique democratic ideal that millions in other regions dream to have, adding that this kind of opportunity should not be squandered.
Uhuru challenged his main challenger, Raila Odinga of NASA, to pronounce and accept the verdict of the majority of Kenyans if he loses.
“In 2002 when I lost the (presidential) elections, I conceded long before the vote count was even completed.
That action ensured a smooth transition. I am proud of that record of conceding and I challenge my competitors to pronounce themselves on this matter and commit themselves to accept the verdict. I did it and waited for 10 years for another chance and here we are,” he said.
The President said IEBC should be given space to work and ensure fair, transparent and peaceful elections. He urged politicians to shun negative rhetoric that undermine the credibility of the institution.
“For IEBC to be posted by independence, they need to maintain credibility and ensure vital public trust, they must be given space to operate.
Politicians must not be chipping at the body with constant negative rhetoric that undermine its credibility in the court of public opinion. Their obligation is to be accountable to Kenyans,” he said.
He added that the agency must be given space to carry out its duties with respect and confidence devoid of attacks and being harassed by politicians to bend to their party affiliations.
“Any attack against IEBC is an attack on an important pillar that is a guardian of our democracy. IEBC and politicians should be accountable,” he said adding that suspicions and doubts that have been manufactured and spread over the past few months against the body should stop.
The President said those who were not satisfied with election results should use channels provided for in law since “the constitution has opened the door for petitions through the courts”.
“Those elected must come together with one common goal to help to deliver the best possible Kenya for all of us. We may represent different parties but we are united on the same journey as architects of Kenya’s future. Our mutual responsibility to put disagreements to one side to embrace maturity,” the President said.