NAIROBI: INTERNATIONAL partners and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have asserted their commitment to credible elections in Kenya. Ahead of the polls scheduled for 2017, the partners and electoral authorities met on Tuesday to discuss preparations and review current donor support for the IEBC Secretariat.
“We reaffirmed together our commitment to free, fair, peaceful and transparent elections and discussed the steps the IEBC is taking to strengthen its capacity and improve public trust and participation in the electoral process,” read a statement issued after the meeting. The High Commissioners of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as Ambassadors from Finland, France, German, Norway, Sweden and United States attended the meeting in Nairobi.
They noted the publication of the IEBC’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020 in July 2015 and looked forward to early publication of the Operational Plan for the 2017 elections. The diplomats agreed on the importance of rebuilding of public trust through proactive and effective public engagement and communication. They emphasized the need for widespread voter registration to ensure the right to vote among all groups of society; and that all stakeholders should work together to secure the credibility and capacity of the IEBC, including through sufficient funding for the electoral process.
With more than 14 million registered voters, the 2013 election, the first to be supervised by IEBC, was largely peaceful other than an incident an incident on the eve of the poll when a gang killed at least six police officers in the region of Changamwe, Mombasa. However, the 2007-08 poll was disputed, sparking deadly violence that claimed the lives of between 800 and 1 500 people. An estimated 600 000 where displaced. Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, has a population of more than 44 million.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY