NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – The Inter-religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) has called for calm even if it goes beyond Friday for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to finish the presidential poll tally.
Bishop Mark Kariuki of the Nakuru based Life Celebration Centre said they had complete confidence in the commission’s ability to carry out its mandate and that a delay in the tallying does not mean the results are being manipulated.
“We have a lot of confidence in IEBC and what they are doing. The failure of the computer system and the return to the manual system does not mean manipulation. It just means that everything is now being handled by hand.”
“It may take even longer than IEBC said. If it doesn’t come out tomorrow like they said, Kenyans should be patient and pin our expectations to Monday so our hope is not crushed.”
The constitution gives the chairman of the electoral commission seven days from the conduct of the presidential election to declare the results and to notify the Chief Justice and incumbent president in writing.
Kariuki lauded the electoral commission for regularly updating the public on the challenges they are encountering and how they plan to resolve them.
“The fact that they have given information to Kenyans on what has been going on; I think that is very, very crucial.”
He also praised the Kenyan populace for the patience they have exercised so far and encouraged them to continue in that spirit.
“We commend you for your fortitude and forbearance in the face of long queues and a complicated voting process. Religious leaders would therefore like to appeal to all of us to continue upholding this spirit.”
The religious leaders also urged Kenyans to return to work and education authorities to ready learning institutions for a return to the normal school calendar.
“We urge managers of educational institutions to ready schools that were used for elections for the return of our children.”
“We appeal to the public transport sector to resume business and refrain from taking undue advantage of Kenyans travelling back to their work stations.”
The religious leaders’ statement came as the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) expressed concern over the failure of the electronic vote tallying system and demanded that their agents be allowed to verify the presidential results from the polling station level.
This plea, IRCK says, should be taken into account by the IEBC. “We therefore urge you continue the process with due care and attention seeking consensus among the party agents the rest involved in the verification of results.”
IRCK called on the presidential candidates not to renege on their promise to Kenyans and to accept the results in the event they lose.
“We thank the Kenya National Congress candidate Peter Kenneth for having already conceded defeat.”