The Star (Nairobi)

28 August 2012

Kenya: We Have No Option but Peaceful Polls - Kibaki

President Mwai Kibaki says its is the duty of all Kenyans, especially politicians, to ensure the general election is peaceful.

The president said a peaceful, just election and smooth transition will send out a clear message that Kenya is the democratic and economic beacon of the region. "I want everyone to make up his mind that we will have peaceful elections. Let us all play our individual roles in that realisation," he said.

Kibaki appealed to politicians to conduct their campaigns peacefully to ensure that the forthcoming elections are held "in an atmosphere of peace, mutual respect and co-operation". The President was speaking at the Bomas of Kenya during the official opening of the National Conference Towards Peaceful Elections. The meeting brought together Kenyans from all corners and sectors to deliberate on how to ensure peace before, during and after the elections.

Kibaki said elections come and go but the country should remain united by embracing peace. He urged aspirants and their supporters to hunt for votes "in a manner that will accord voters room to make independent and informed choices". The President caution against power-hungry leaders who will stop at nothing to win votes, even if it means compromising security.

"A lot of campaign money will be poured to influence voters but that is not enough reason to disrupt peace and harmonious co-existence in the country," he added. While commenting on the recent ethnic and clan feuds that ahve killed over 70 people in Mandera, Wajir and Tana River Counties, Kibaki said that all Kenyans should live harmoniously since their are enough resources for everyone.

"There is enough room for all Kenyans to live together peacefully. As we devolve responsibility to the 47 counties, this message must be reinforced among all Kenyans," Kibaki said. The President advised all Kenyans to guard against reckless utterances and actions that could compromise the keeping of the peace in the country.

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