Ignore foreign influence on polls, AU tells Kenyans
AKenya; The African Union (AU) has urged Kenyans to ignore threats and intimidation from foreign nations likely to influence the outcome of the March 4 elections.
AU Election Observation Mission in Kenya stressed the electoral process is a democratic right for every citizen and should not be interfered with. Head of Mission and former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano said Kenyans should make informed choices and maintain peace during and after the elections.
His sentiments come at a time when conflicting reports from Western nations have been rife, warning of “consequences” over the choice of leaders elected.
There has been raging debate on the suitability of Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, to lead the county while facing crimes against humanity charges.
“Kenyans should ignore foreign opinions, if any, likely to influence their voting pattern. They have the right to elect their preferred leaders,” noted Chissano. Without naming any country, he maintained that the choice solely lies with Kenyans.
“This is a very important exercise in the history of this nation and the people’s verdict has to be respected,” he said. Chissano was addressing the Press at a Nairobi hotel where he affirmed the mission’s full confidence in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct credible polls, adding the agency had adequately prepared.
He also told IEBC to step up voter education to ensure all Kenyans are familiar with the voting process. “IEBC should put in place contingency measures to address any challenges that may arise due to the number of elections to be held on the same day,” he advised.
He lauded the security arrangement, calling for increased co-operation between IEBC and security agencies. He was accompanied by his assistant and AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Aisha Abdullahi, among others. The team comprises 60 high profile personalities and experts drawn from the Pan-African Parliament, African Ambassadors to AU in Addis Ababa, election management bodies and civic society groups.