, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – European Union Heads of Mission in Kenya have come to the support of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) over the controversy-ridden tendering for biometric voter registration equipment.
Speaking to the press at the EU headquarters in Nairobi, they said that IEBC had done well in restoring public confidence in the elections.
Bernard Ray, the head of operations at the EU Delegation to Kenya who spoke on behalf of the Heads of Mission however said that IEBC must seek to reinforce its reputation by articulating the measures it is taking to ensure free and fair elections.
“We would like to express our support for the wish of Kenyans to see free, fair and peaceful electoral processes organised by the IEBC under Isaack Hassan,” read Ray.
“We fully respect the independence of the IEBC and the good reputation it has built…We encourage the Commission to reinforce this reputation by demonstrating to the Kenyan people the mechanisms and safeguards it is putting in place to ensure the integrity of the elections,” the EU emphasized.
They called on all players in the electoral process to let the IEBC amply complete the processes that have to be undertaken ahead of the poll including the speedy conclusion of the matters of the election date.
“All stakeholders should allow the IEBC to implement its complex mandate free from political influence…There remain many things to be done in the run up to the elections, with limited time to do them,”
The Heads of Mission refused to be drawn into discussing the Sh3.9 billion tender row at the IEBC maintaining that they support a speedy conclusion of the process.
The tender through which the commission wants to acquire biometric voter registration equipment has been dogged by controversy after the IEBC declined to ward the tender to the lowest bidder.
The delay in awarding the tender is expected to result in the time bound processes expected to be undertaken before the elections.
Chief among those is the date when IEBC will start voter registration, mapping of the voting zones and inspection of the voter register.
The EU also called on state authorities to enforce the electoral laws and those related to hate speech and negative ethnicity.
“We support the work of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the police to take action against hate speech and applaud the efforts of the Mkenya Daima campaign and many other non-state actors to build cohesion ahead of the elections,” read Rey.
Among EU member state representatives who attended were Bart Ouvry, Ambassador of Belgium, Christian Turner, British High Commissioner, Etienne de Poncins, Ambassador of France and Agis Loizou, Cyprus High Commissioner.