NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – Presidential aspirant Peter Kenneth has expressed concern that the presidential campaigns are not being carried out on a level playing field.
He has accused some of those he is vying against who are still in government of abusing their offices and using State resources in their campaigns.
“We are concerned that certain candidates continue to enjoy the full backing of government and we continue to see use of State resources towards certain candidates in the elections.”
Kenneth was speaking after meeting the head of the European Union Election Observation Mission Alojz Peterle a former Prime Minister of Slovenia and a member of the European parliament, at his campaign secretariat in Nairobi.
“What we are seeking is also to ensure there is fair ground and we are able to participate on an equal footing. We hope part of the observation is also to ensure there is fairness in elections,” Kenneth said.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) issued a warning only six days ago on the use of State resources to campaign.
Peterle however was clear that his delegation was in the country only to observe the elections, file a report based on their findings and make recommendations; they will under no circumstances interfere in the general elections, “Our aim here is to observe the elections. Not to interfere.”
The former premier arrived in the country on Monday and will be coordinating a team of 70 observers to be set up throughout the country for the next 40 days.
Peterle and his team will meet all the political parties registered to participate in the March 4 election.
Former American President Jimmy Carter’s Centre has already deployed 14 long-term observers across the country and an additional 30 will join them on the eve of the election.
“The Carter Centre hopes that this election observation mission will reassure the Kenyan people that their efforts to reform political institutions can succeed. Competitive and peaceful elections would be one more step in Kenya’s transition away from politics of division and strife,” said Carter Centre Election Mission Field Representative Stephane Mondon.
They will periodically post their findings on the run up to the election on their website.
A delegation from the African Union (AU) and COMESA completed a week long pre-election assessment on Tuesday. They concentrated their survey in Nairobi, Nakuru and the general Rift Valley province as these were the hot spots during the 2007 Post-Election Violence (PEV).
They sounded an early warning bell at the end of their mission that security would need to be beefed up if a repeat of the 2007 PEV is to be averted.
“The delegation reiterates the need for closer attention around issues of security, the media’s role and responsibilities, civic and voter education and the management of the post-election phase.”
Radio personality Joshua arap Sang is facing incitement charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the 2007 PEV and so it comes as no surprise that the Kenyan media’s conduct will also be under close scrutiny.
The international community will be closely watching the general elections a little over a month away because of the PEV and also because they will be the first Kenya has held since instituting its current Constitution in 2010.