, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct thorough pre-election civic education countrywide in good time, to avoid problems during the forthcoming general elections.
Kalonzo urged the IEBC to inject fresh creativity during the next round of pre-election civic education to avoid voter indifference that could deny civic educators the chance to expound on the new political and governance order the country is headed for.
The Vice President was speaking on Thursday during the national conference on the preparedness of Kenya towards the forthcoming elections held at Hekima College in Nairobi.
The conference has drawn participants from faith-based organisations, governance experts, the civil society, Agenda 4 commissions, academics, politicians and media experts.
He said the country’s Constitution can no longer point towards ‘a-business-as-usual’ political order dwelling with a past Kenyans have decisively broken away from, or install next generation of leaders based on mere populism.
Kalonzo said the issue of devolution should be accorded deeper and serious engagement with the public to avoid causing apathy among Kenyans who could be expecting an automatic utopia in 2013.
“This is the right time to urge responsibility and duty-bound commitment to the installation of a new order among all Kenyans,” the Vice President said.
The VP said Kenyans should address the causes of the 2007/8 post poll violence to avoid a repeat of the incident in future elections instead of apportioning blame and trading accusations.
Kalonzo also called on the conference participants to come up with recommendations that would help Kenyans eradicate corruption, disregard for civility and bigotry.
The Vice President noted that even though 61.9 percent of Kenyans rate the media highly, they never question the reliability of vernacular media in fostering peace and reconciliation particularly during campaigns and urged the conference to also come up with recommendations to correct the anomaly.
Kalonzo said he is optimistic that the next general election will be held in December this year.
“I am sure IEBC will be ready by December this year so that elections can be held,” he said.
He said plans are underway to set up an authority that will oversee the transition to devolved government for the next three years.
On the much awaited ICC ruling, the Vice President said there is need for Kenyans to live peacefully irrespective of the outcome.
He called on leaders not to issue statements which can cause confusion among peace loving Kenyans.
Kalonzo said a lasting solution to Kenya’s problems cannot be achieved through the ICC but via peace and reconciliation among the people of Kenya.
“Whatever happens at The Hague, we need our country back. Leaders should not pre-empt the outcome of ICC to cause confusion among Kenyans,” he said.
Kalonzo said he was optimistic that Kenyans will engage in free and peaceful elections this year, adding that the culture of throwing huge stones will be a thing of the past.
“I am optimistic that the coming election will be held peacefully. The culture of throwing huge stones will be a thing of the past. Those causing confusion will be identified and isolated,” he said.
The Vice President assured Kenyans that the Government is doing everything possible to solve the problem facing the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Nominated MP Mohammed Affey dismissed Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo’s statement that the law will not allow ICC suspects to contest for any political office if their charges are confirmed.
“Mutula’s utterances are reckless and I wish to inform Kenyans that such utterances are his own and not the stand of Wiper Democratic Party that Kilonzo is the Secretary General of,” he said.
He said the process of ICC had been political from the beginning and that nothing will stop the suspects from contesting for political office in this country, come the next general elections.
Kisumu Catholic Church archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth emphasised on the need for IEBC to launch serious voter and civic campaigns to educate the people on the new Constitution and voting rights.
“There should be serious civic and voter education on the new Constitution as this will determine the success of the coming elections,” the church leader said.
“We do not want to see a culture of stone throwing and shooting in the air as witnessed during the last election. This can only be avoided if Kenyans are educated on the new laws and need to vote peacefully,” he added.