Anthony Mwangi, Irene Githinji and Judy Akuma @PeopleDailyKe
Let us vote and get back to nation-building, that was the message by President Uhuru Kenyatta last evening as he asked Kenyans to come out today to participate in the fresh presidential election.
The President, in a televised address to the nation, said Kenyans were ready to move on after the current political impasse which has largely affected the economy. “Kenyans are ready to put behind them the political differences that have dogged them for sometimes and move on,” he said.
Uhuru said the country cannot remain in a perpetual state of politicking, noting today’s exercise should mark the end of the protracted electioneering mode.
The Head of State told Kenyans that if they hold together as on nation, they have the capacity to re-engineer development and to respect independent institutions that are charged with foreseeing the full implementation of the Constitution. The law, he said, will apply to all regardless of political or social affiliation.
On security, the President warned he will not allow anyone to plunge the country into anarchy. He said when he took office he swore to protect the constitution and insisted he will not renege from doing so.
“I will not let Kenya slide into anarchy and I ask all to stay within the law whether they choose to vote or not,” Uhuru said. His warning was in apparent reference to Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga who yesterday announced he had transformed the alliance into a resistance movement.
Raila was speaking at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, shortly after three cases that had sought to postpone the election were thrown out or failed to proceed at the High Court and the Supreme Court respectively.
The Head of State retaliated that the country will remain united even after today’s election. “We have yet another opportunity to show the world that we are a free modern state focused on its growth, our better days lie ahead,” the President said.
Uhuru reminded Kenyans they have a chance to re-affirm their constitutional and democratic right to choose their President for the next five years. He said the government will protect the property of all Kenyans and assured that the prevailing politicking will end soon to allow economic recovery. Uhuru cited lost economic fortunes as one of the reasons why the electoral period must end.
“I believe if we hold together through these challenges, we will emerge stronger as a united people.” He reiterated his administration’s commitment to provide adequate security, saying security personnel have been deployed to all parts of the country to protect those who wish to participate and those who will not in today’s exercise.
“As we go to the polls today we ask God for guidance, to grant each of us peace in these testing times,” Uhuru said. He warned those planning to disrupt peace they would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
“Let no one infringe the right of the another person, be it now or after the election,” Uhuru cautioned. He said rights of those who wish not to vote are also protected within the Constitution.
“Anyone who wishes to express anything against tomorrow’s poll must do so within the confines of the law,” he warned. Uhuru advised Kenyans not to be divided by their political inclinations adding that the way one votes should not change how they relate with their neighbours. “Go to your neighbour.
That is your brother or sister now and after the election,” Uhuru said. He asked those who will be participating in the election to go home after casting their vote to await the outcome.
Earlier, the Catholic church and the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) had called for restraint and peace among Kenyans. The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said those who wish to vote should be allowed to vote peacefully and those who do not wish to take part should peacefully stay away from the polling stations.
KCCB chairman Philip Anyolo yesterday said they were still trying to reach out to President Uhuru and Raila and urge them to sincerely look for means and avenues that bring the election process and cycle to a closure, so that the country can move into post-election period where numerous social and economic issues need to be addressed.