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John Kerry arrives in Kenya next week to monitor elections

Kerry when he landed in Kenya on his last visit to the country as Secretary of State/FRANCIS MBATHA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – The United States has voiced concern about possible chaos in next month’s Kenya General Election and is now urging key players to take steps to forestall a re-occurrence of post-election violence witnessed due to the disputed 2007 presidential results tally.

Speaking during a meeting with National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec implored the government to ensure the elections which are now 11 days away are conducted in a free, credible and transparent atmosphere.

He also announced the US Observer Mission led by former US Secretary of State John Kerry will make a comprehensive statement when he arrives in the country next week.

Kerry, who was US President Barack Obama’s top diplomat between 2013 and 2016, will co-lead the election observation mission from The Carter Centre, a non-profit organisation founded by former US President Jimmy Carter to promote democracy and human rights around the world.

Former Prime Minister of Senegal Aminata Touré will jointly head its Election Observation Mission to Kenya.

As observers, they will check compliance with electoral laws, preparedness of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), security services provided and the general conduct during voting.

They will also meet with political party candidates, civil society organisations, government officials, domestic citizen observers, and other international election observer missions, before observing polling and tabulation after the August 8 polls.

Duale on his part told the US envoy that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party is keen on winning by an indisputable margin to erase any doubts of its victory.

He further said the government respects the sovereignty of the IEBC as the sole institution responsible for conducting the August 8 elections.

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Godec has also held meetings with IEBC officials, Opposition leaders and other key stakeholders in the electoral process.

The US diplomat emphasised that Kenya remains a key US partner in the promotion of regional security and as a hub for humanitarian assistance, finance, and transportation.

Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, on Wednesday briefed diplomats on the National Police Service security plan across the country that has been put in place to ensure sanity prevails during and after the elections.

The diplomats urged the government to ensure they facilitate the IEBC with the necessary resources to ensure they conduct a credible election.

He said all the concerns raised were addressed effectively but made clear that “it is not the responsibility of the government to conduct the election. Our Constitution is probably clear on this. It is the responsibility of the IEBC to conduct an election.”

READ: Diplomats urge Kenya to ensure free, fair and credible polls

Already, the National Police Service has mapped out perceived hot spots in the country, details of which were made available to them by the CS, who was accompanied by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of the Kenya Police Joel Kitili and other senior government officials.

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