, KIAMBU, Kenya, Oct 26 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has reiterated that the government will take decisive action against anyone who interferes with Thursday’s presidential election through intimidation of election officials and violence.
President Kenyatta who spoke shortly after casting his vote at the Mutomo Primary School polling station in Gatundu South said whereas it is within the right of any voter to boycott the election, those who do so must not interfere with the rights of others.
“We’re explaining ourselves very clearly; there’s no reason for anybody to take any violent action against Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission officials,” he said.
“It is the right of every Kenyan to decide whether to vote or not and my guarantee to Kenyans is that they shall be protected,” he added.
The Head of State noted that a large percentage of the nation was calm and voting was ongoing in a majority of the 40,883 polling stations across the country.
He said it was the commitment of the government to ensure an enabling environment for a successful poll is maintained throughout the voting period which ends at 5pm when polling centres close.
He described the election as monumental to the nation, saying the country’s leadership has proven that it is able to respect the independence of independent institutions particularly the Judiciary which nullified his victory in the August 8 presidential election.
“Kenya is proving that our democracy is improving and has indeed matured. Our institutions are maturing and I believe Kenya is setting an example other African countries should emulate,” said President Kenyatta who was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, his mother, former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta and a host of local leaders including Governor Ferdinand Waititu.
He underscored the importance of the country to move forward after the election bearing in mind the negative effects the extended electioneering period has had on the economy.
“We’re tired of this prolonged electioneering period. Let us elect our leader and proceed with nation-building.”
Earlier on, Waititu who voted at the Wangige Market polling station told the media that local leaders had conducted mobilisation campaigns to ensure the close to 1.2 million registered voters in the populous county turn out and vote.
Waititu said Thursday’s vote was particularly important because it offers the residents who overwhelmingly voted for President Kenyatta (Jubilee Party) during the August 8 General Election annulled by the Supreme Court, an opportunity to reaffirm their support for the Head of State.
“We want to prove that actually, President Kenyatta has over 60 per cent support in this nation,” Governor Waititu remarked.
“We have campaigned and mobilized our people and we are sure on one million votes. People feel so bad that the National Super Alliance (NASA) wanted to sabotage this election by mounting numerous court cases at the last minute,” he said.
Waititu took a swipe at NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s boycott of the election and the announcement of a National Resistance Movement during a rally at Uhuru Park on Wednesday, a day before the election, terming the move as desperate.
According to Waititu, Odinga’s move was a diversionary tactic intended to dissuade Kenyans from exercising their democratic right to vote.
“Odinga is trying to form a movement because he has lost an election but that is a futile move. He is misleading his people because everybody was prepared for the election,” Governor Waititu sated.
Kiambu has 1,180,920 registered voters with 985,152 valid votes recorded in the last presidential election in August.
President Kenyatta at the time garnered 912,588 votes compared to National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga’s 69,190.
Other than President Kenyatta and Odinga, other candidates on the ballot are Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance), Alliance for Real Change leader Abduba Dida, Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party), and independent candidates Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kaluyu.