Eleven envoys urge dialogue on electoral systems before 2017 poll

May 4, 2016 11:55 am
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In a statement, the envoys indicated that to ensure a credible and peaceful poll, all of Kenya's leaders and citizens should come together through dialogue to build confidence in the systems in place/FILE
In a statement, the envoys indicated that to ensure a credible and peaceful poll, all of Kenya’s leaders and citizens should come together through dialogue to build confidence in the systems in place/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – Eleven foreign envoys have emphasised the need for dialogue across Kenya’s political divide on the electoral and judicial systems ahead of the 2017 General Election.

In a statement, the envoys indicated that to ensure a credible and peaceful poll, all of Kenya’s leaders and citizens should come together through dialogue to build confidence in the systems in place.

They stated that decisions touching on the future of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s leadership must be broadly acceptable, achieved through dialogue and made in accord with Kenya’s Constitution and laws.

“Kenyans will go to the polls in 15 months to choose the leaders who will take the country forward over the next five years. With the political competition already underway, now is the time for all Kenyans to consider what steps to take to ensure these elections are free, fair, and peaceful,” they said.

They described it as a shared responsibility of the government, the Opposition and the people of Kenya to ensure a free, fair and peaceful election in 2017.

“In recent months, we have discussed the 2017 elections with a broad spectrum of Kenya’s political, religious, civil society and business leaders, and with representatives of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). In all of our meetings, we have reiterated the crucial importance of public confidence in the electoral system,” they said.

They noted the steps the IEBC and other institutions have taken to prepare for the elections and stated that organising free, fair and peaceful elections is a “whole of society” effort.

“Voters must have confidence that institutions such as the IEBC and the Judiciary are impartial, efficient, and operate in accordance with the law. Kenya’s politicians and citizens have a responsibility to build trust in the democratic system and to find ways to ensure the electoral and judicial institutions are strong and effective,” they said.

They further pointed out that the IEBC and Judiciary must have the resources needed to carry out their responsibilities and stated that everyone must reject rhetoric or actions that incite violence.

“All eligible voters must have the opportunity to vote. We welcome the IEBC’s efforts to register more voters, especially the young, in its campaign between February 15 and March 15, but more needs to be done. All Kenyans must be able to obtain national identity cards from the National Registration Bureau through a process that is timely, fair and reasonable.”

They expressed their commitment to support Kenya in this critical election.

“Many of us are funding technical assistance, civic education, and conflict mitigation efforts. We will continue to engage with Kenyan leaders, citizens, and organizations across the country in the months ahead.”

The statement was signed by the Ambassador of the United States Robert F. Godec, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom Nic Hailey, Ambassador of Germany Jutta Frasch, High Commissioner for Canada David Angell and Ambassador of Switzerland Ralf Heckner.

Others were Ambassador of Sweden Johan Borgstam, Ambassador of Denmark Mette Knudsen, Ambassador of Norway Victor C. Ronneberg, Ambassador of Finland Tarja Fernández High Commissioner for Australia John Feakes and Ambassador of the Netherlands Frans Makken.

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