Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced the hope that all Kenyans will work together to ensure that next week's elections will be peaceful and credible, as he discussed the upcoming polls with the country's President, Mwai Kibaki.
In a telephone call with the President, Mr. Ban also expressed appreciation for efforts made to strengthen Kenya's democracy and its electoral system since the last general elections, according to information provided by the Secretary-General's spokesperson.
He trusts that efforts made at many levels to prevent a repeat of past violence will be redoubled during the remainder of the campaign, the spokesperson added.
The 4 March poll will be the first presidential election since the December 2007 vote, which was followed by post-election violence in which more than 1,100 people were killed, 3,500 injured and up to 600,000 forcibly displaced.
Mr. Ban underscored the importance of respecting the independence of the judiciary and the authority of the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC), which is entrusted with organizing the elections, and ensuring that the results reflect the will of the Kenyan people.
He was encouraged by the recent statements made by all the presidential candidates to reaffirm their commitment to a peaceful and tolerant campaign, and to appeal to their supporters to do the same, and to reject inflammatory rhetoric, violence or fraudulent actions, said his spokesperson.
Last month, during a visit to the capital, Nairobi, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman stressed the need for all Kenyans and their institutions to ensure the upcoming elections are credible, peaceful and transparent, noting that the polls will be "watched closely around the world."
"Let me take this opportunity to appeal to all Kenyans to exercise their democratic right and participate actively - but peacefully - in the elections," he said. "Let me also underscore the responsibility shared by leaders at all levels to abide by legal mechanisms and to send a clear message to supporters that violence of any kind would be unacceptable."