NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3- Senate speaker Ekwe Ethuro has urged political leaders to ensure peace and stability is maintained during the campaign period as the country prepares for elections next year.
Ethuro said violence is largely fuelled by politicians and appealed for a continuous engagement towards a consensus to any outstanding issue to avoid a similar situation witnessed in the country in 2007 when a dispute on the presidential election fuelled violence countrywide leading to 1,100 deaths and displacements of over 600,000 others.
“ We want to bring all Kenyans together so that elections do not become a determining factor in terms of our level of competitiveness,” he told participants in Kwale Satuday, at the end of a Leadership Summit on 2017 elections which was organised by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
The forum was also attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta who committed to ensure a peaceful campaign period on his Jubilee Party, and urged the Opposition to do the same.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi on his part assured Kenyans that as leaders, they will not allow elections to tear the country apart.
“We have held elections and in all these since 1963, we are trying to improve ourselves…it cannot be possible in the absence of peace,” he asserted.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Ezra Chiloba assured that the commission is committed to ensuring that there will be no voter bribery in next year’s General Election, by working closely with other state agencies.
“We cannot be all over. We have to work with security agencies. We have a joint programme with the police on the election security programme, that seeks to train security officers to understand the critical processes when it comes to the electoral process and the role of security when it comes to enforcement,” he said.
Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka was more emphatic on the need to combat corruption to ensure a level playing ground “more so when people continue to bribing voters before they go to vote. Sometime your officers are helpless.”
Attorney General Githu Muigai emphasised the need for all the players, particularly those vying for top offices to familiarize themselves with election laws.
“We always talk about civic education for the voter and the truth is that we do need civic education for participants,” he said, noting that some political aspirants were not even prepared in terms of the legal requirements and procedures.