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Foreign Affairs Ministry briefs envoys on plans for peaceful polls

Foreign Affairs PS Monica Juma told the diplomatic corps in Nairobi on Wednesday that measures are in place to ensure Kenyans are given an opportunity to elect their leaders in a free and fair electoral process/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – The government has once again assured foreign diplomats that the country is ready for credible elections come August 8.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Monica Juma told the diplomatic corps in Nairobi on Wednesday that measures are in place to ensure Kenyans are given an opportunity to elect their leaders in a free and fair electoral process.

“The August 2017 election will be the second within the framework of our Constitution (2010). The significance of this is not lost to many Kenyans. This is the election that will consolidate our democratic credentials,” she said.

Juma said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had also demonstrated its readiness to conduct credible elections as can be attested to by by-elections it has conducted in a number of counties, constituencies and wards over the past four and a half years.

“Today, the current policy, legal and administrative frameworks are fully in place. The entire electoral system has been tested from voter registration to dispute resolution,” she observed.

Her sentiments were mirrored by Commissioner Abdi Guliye of the IEBC who said the process of cleaning up the voters register was on course with 200 out of 290 constituencies having been dealt with so far.

“As of yesterday (Tuesday) we were done with 200 constituencies and we hope we will be able to complete the exercise by the end of the week,” Guliye said noting that the Commission was keen to implement recommendations it received from KPMG which conducted the audit of the voters register.

Ugandan High Commissioner to Kenya Angelina Wapakhabulo, who is also the Dean of Diplomats in Kenya, commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for close collaboration with agencies involved in the preparations for polls saying the measures put in place by the country on peaceful elections inspire confidence.

“We have a better understanding of the state of preparedness for the whole process and indeed with what we have been informed this afternoon we believe there’s evidence of free, fair and transparent elections; not just in the interests of the people of Kenya but to the region, the continent and ultimately the who world,” Wapakhabulo said.

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During the second day of the National Elections Conference, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec asked Kenyans to support the electoral agency in order to achieve peaceful elections.

He said that the trust citizens bestow on IEBC is critical to ensuring that the nation remains peaceful after the polls.

“IEBC has an absolutely critical responsibility to run the elections, to do so effectively and transparently and to be a neutral and unbiased arbiter. We along other international partners are providing technical support and assistance to the IEBC to make this happen,” Godec said on Tuesday.

“I urge all Kenyans to do all they can to support the IEBC work towards elections which are free, fair, credible and above all peaceful,” he added.

Godec said that the US does not have a preferred political candidate or party affirming America’s commitment to non-interference in the democratic affairs of Kenya.

“We do not support any candidate or party but we do support the democratic process and the opportunity it provide. We want to help ensure Kenyans have a free, fair, credible and peaceful opportunity to choose their own leaders and decide Kenyans future on August 8.”

The Wednesday meeting was also attended by Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

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