CAST your vote and keep the peace, was President Kibaki's passionate plea yesterday as he addressed the nation. In his live TV and radio address, the President described Monday's general election as a historic.
He asked Kenyans to get out, vote peacefully and show the world the country has come of age. "This Monday, you, as a voter have a date with destiny. By voting, you decide the leadership that will manage your hopes and aspirations. In casting your vote, you will be exercising your democratic right and taking your place in history," Kibaki said.
The President said peace is the cornerstone of the nation's development and asked Kenyans to safeguard it. He noted that Monday's vote "is the first since the birth of the second Republic on August 27, 2010", the date Kenya's constitution was promulgated after being endorsed earlier in the month.
Kibaki pleaded with candidates in the election to accept the outcome and to move on, saying every election will produce winners and losers.
"To the men and women who shall be declared winners, I appeal to them to embrace victory with humility and to begin the journey of serving the people in earnest," he said.
"To those who will not win, your country still needs you. There are many other roles you can play in our development endeavors." The President assured Kenyans that the government has mobilised all its security officers to ensure that the election is peaceful. He asked Kenyans to play their individual roles through tolerance and by embracing peace.
"As a country, we must consolidate the development strides we have made by ensuring a free, fair, just and peaceful election.Let us send a clear message to the world, that our democracy has come of age. A peaceful vote is a vote for a secure, prosperous and stable Kenya," he said.
After the 2007 election, Kenya's image went in tatters internationally following the violence that followed the announcement of the results. The country was saved by international mediation led by Kofi Annan which led to formation of a coalition government.
Monday's election is the first since 1992 that Kibaki will not on be contesting the presidency. It is also the first since the country's independence in 1963 where the retiring President will not be on any ballot paper.