2 March 2013

Africa: AU to Respect Will of Kenyans in Polls

Nairobi — The chairperson of Africa Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has assured Kenyans that the AU will respect their choice during Monday's General Elections.

Dlamini-Zuma who met President Mwai Kibaki at State House, Nairobi, said the African Union was also satisfied with the level of election preparedness in the country.

The AU chairperson encouraged political leaders in the country to also accept the will of the electorate and manage the election outcome to ensure national unity and a more cohesive society.

The commission chairperson, who was flanked by the head of AU election observer mission to Kenya, former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano, said Kenyans should be supported to conduct a free, fair and credible election.

She commended presidential aspirants for conducting peaceful campaigns and urged them to accept the election outcome and if dissatisfied to challenge the results through official legal means.

During the meeting, Chissano told the president that his mission had also met all election stakeholders and was satisfied with the mechanisms in place to deliver credible elections.

On his part, President Kibaki briefed the AU chairperson and the AU head of observer mission on the measures the government has put in place to ensure smooth and peaceful general elections.

The president assured that every effort was being made to guard against a repeat of post-election chaos that rocked the country after the 2007 elections.

"This is a historical moment for Kenya. As the country marks its Jubilee year, honouring 50 years of independence, considerable efforts have been taken to ensure Kenya does not experience post-election difficulties."

President Kibaki said candidates have been sensitized to rein on their supporters to maintain peace and order during and after the general elections.

The president once more assured Kenyans, the AU Commission and the international community that the government has identified possible hot spots of violence and developed strategies to reduce levels of risk.

Additionally, President Kibaki said the government will continue to work closely with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to curb transmission of electronic hate speech.

Among other issues the government is addressing, the Head of State noted, include devolving power from the presidency to the Legislature, Judiciary and the 47 counties.

The president said key constitutional institutions including the National Land Commission, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Kenya Police Service have also been established to address underlying causes of conflict.

President Kibaki paid tribute to the AU, UN, regional allies, donors and the civil society for the efforts deployed to ensure successful election in the country.

Saying the electoral body was equal to the task, the Head of State exuded confidence that the general election would be conducted in a peaceful, free and fair atmosphere.

President Kibaki also reassured that through the support of AU and other allies, Kenya will conduct a credible election and prove to the world that it was prepared to move forward as a united country.

He said his tenure as president ends after the elections but will be available to advance the peace and social-economic development Agenda in the continent.

"Am grateful to the AU fraternity for the support accorded to me and my government during my tenure as president," he added.

On regional issues, President Kibaki commended the AU for the instrumental role played in the search for sustainable peace and stability in the continent.

He singled out the significant contribution the AU has made to regional and international efforts to resolve the longstanding crisis in Somalia and the outstanding issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan and South Sudan.

He reassured that Kenya will continue to support resolution of conflicts through diplomatic means among other worthy endeavours.

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