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AU calls for Kenya’s stakeholders to ensure free and fair elections

July 22, 2017 10:15 PM
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The African Union (AU) has called on all stakeholders in Kenya's general election to ensure next month's election is free, fair and credible for the sake of the country's stability after the polls.

Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, who is heading an African Union Elections observer mission to Kenya, says the East African economic powerhouse plays a vital role on the continent.

According to Mbeki, a credible and peaceful election would set a precedent for the rest of Africa. He spoke to the media in Nairobi on Saturday after two days of marathon meetings with several key people in the electoral process.

"Everybody is communicating one message which is that Kenyan people want to have peaceful, free, fair, credible elections. We are all of us mindful of what happened in 2007/8 and very keen that it can never, never be a repetition of that for the sake of Kenya but it is also for the sake of the continent,” says Mbeki.

Just over two weeks to the polls in Kenya, campaigns are in top gear. For a country that previously witnessed post-election chaos there is a cautious optimism. It is a delicate balance for Kenyans.

With the spotlight on the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission, the AU team had two meetings with the electoral commission and another with the chairperson of the commission. The AU team's message to the commission was that it must communicate and consult with all stakeholders.

"Exactly part of what will result in elections being peaceful is the fact of them being free, fair credible and all that. If people have any disputes about the elections, then they must resort to the courts and use the normal legal process rather than any other means."

The mission raised concerns over the under representation of women in this year's polls and cautioned that a lower number of elected women leaders was regressive for Kenya.

There are 19.6 million registered voters, 53 % of those registered are male, while 47 % are female. This is compared to 49 % of female registered voters in the 2013 general elections.


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