NAIROBI, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) — Heads of foreign election monitoring groups on Friday called on Kenya to ensure the Aug. 9 national polls are carried out in a peaceful, fair, and transparent manner.
“We call on all those with a specific mandate to the Aug. 9 elections to conduct their responsibilities with the utmost diligence and transparency as well as compliance with the legal framework of Kenya,” the observer missions said in a joint statement issued in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The groups from the African Union, the European Union, and the Commonwealth among others said they had faith in Kenyan institutions to facilitate credible polls where voters will elect a new president, county governors, senators, and lawmakers. Seven international election observer groups are already in Kenya to assess the country’s preparedness to conduct polls in a manner that adheres to democratic tenets. Some 14 foreign envoys based in Kenya lauded political parties for making a firm commitment to peace, stability, and cohesion as the country prepares for general elections.
The diplomats stated that all political actors play an important role in ensuring devotion to the principles of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. “This election is of huge significance. It marks the first full transition in the presidency and many governorships since the introduction of the 2010 Constitution. We call on all leaders – both in and out of elected offices – to work together after Aug. 9 to ensure the democratic progress of the last decade is preserved,” they said in a separate joint statement. The diplomats from Europe and North America noted that Kenya remains a beacon of hope in the region, thanks to a robust constitution and political pluralism.
While acknowledging the significance of forthcoming polls, the envoys called on aspirants for diverse seats to conduct peaceful campaigns and address grievances through legitimate channels. The envoys said Kenya has made huge democratic progress since the re-introduction of multiparty elections and commended the efforts made by all who have worked tirelessly to realize the elections, provide security and promote civic education, including religious leaders, civil society, media, and the private sector. “We trust that all their efforts will bear fruit as the campaign period draws to a close,” they said and called for the inclusion of women, the youth, and politically marginalized groups, including persons with disabilities, and committed to fully supporting work to build a more inclusive and equitable political system even after the polls.
The Aug. 9 election is set to be mainly contested between two major political alliances — Kenya Kwanza headed by Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja which is led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.