AU confident August poll will be credible, peaceful

The African Union Commission chairperson Musa Faki yesterday said the organisation is confident Kenya will make Africa proud by holding a credible and peaceful General Election.

“After meeting all the stakeholders involved in the elections, I am glad to note that the Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has assured us that there will be free, fair and credible elections,” Faki told journalists in a briefing at a Nairobi hotel on behalf of the African Union elections observation team.

He described the disagreements between Nasa and Jubilee over election modalities as “healthy for a maturing democracy” such as Kenya. He, however, warned both parties to uphold the rule of law to ensure there is no likelihood of violence.

And as Faki spoke, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main challenger Nasa flag bearer Raila Odinga were engaged in a war of words over rigging claims. Speaking at different venues, they accused each other of hatching a plot to interfere with the General Election slated for August 8. President Uhuru claimed Nasa was out to derail elections through chaos and persistent lawsuits.

Meeting the African Union elections observer team, Uhuru said the Opposition was engaged in a blatant campaign to force a postponement of the elections to subvert the will of Kenyans.

The Head of State highlighted a pattern of actions by the Opposition, including court cases, which he said demonstrated their intention to sabotage the elections. He accused the Opposition of laying the ground for chaos, adding that they are not interested in a fair contest where voters chose the victor.

“We have persistently declared we are ready to accept the will of the people, but the Opposition adamantly refuses to submit itself to that commitment,” said Uhuru. The Head of State also informed former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is leading the AU observer mission, that the Opposition’s attack on those in charge of securing the country as well as the elections, was a clear sign of their intention to cause chaos.

But addressing a press conference at Capitol hill offices, Raila displayed names he alleged were of 42 police and military officers recruited as returning officers to rig the poll. He made the claims yesterday alluding to a circular allegedly obtained from the police to assign the officers special duties as electoral officials.

Separately, Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuro Aukot has expressed apprehension over reported plans by Nasa to set up a parallel tallying centre in Tanzania. Aukot, said yesterday the proposal by Nasa could undermine the electoral management processes, trust and faith in the institutions tasked with overseeing a credible election.

He said in a statement that by doing so Nasa would be undermining the independence of IEBC and the security as well as the sovereignty of the country. Aukot warned that by working with Nasa in the sinister move, Tanzania would be undermining Kenya’s sovereignty and appearing to be partisan.

“This could undermine our diplomatic relations and even bring tension to the peaceful co-existence of the East African people. I hope President John Magufuli will not allow his country to be dragged into what is clearly a Kenyan affair,” Aukot warned in a statement.

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