Be open to public scrutiny, envoys ask IEBC

Thursday June 15 2017

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, flanked by Nasa leaders

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, flanked by Nasa leaders, addresses the media at the IEBC offices in Nairobi on April 6, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GEORGE OMONDI
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Foreign envoys have asked Kenya's electoral body to open up its operations for public scrutiny in efforts to promote “free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.”

The 10 envoys representing US and the European Union states met the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in Nairobi on Thursday morning in the wake of ballot paper tendering storm raised by the Opposition.

The head of foreign missions want the electoral agency to update the public regularly on its preparations for the August 8 polls.

On Wednesday, the foreign affairs ministry reportedly asked diplomats to keep off Kenya’s internal electoral affairs.

“We urge the IEBC to continue to engage and communicate its preparations widely and transparently,” the envoys said in a statement.

The joint statement was signed by the UK High Commissioner Nic Hailey, US ambassador Robert Godec, Stefano Dejak who heads the European Union Delegation to Kenya, Jutta Frasch of Germany, Ralf Heckner (Switzerland) and Johan Borgstam (Sweden).

Other foreign envoys represented Italy, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

“As friends of Kenya, we will continue to support the IEBC in their critical role in conducting credible and peaceful elections,” the diplomats said.

Elections conference

The electoral agency had on Wednesday finalised its two-day national elections conference, a forum which allowed key players to discuss preparations and commit their support for free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections.

During the conference, the opposition’s National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate Raila Odinga accused his ruling Jubilee party rival Uhuru Kenyatta of harbouring commercial and personal relationship with directors of Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company.

The Dubai firm has been awarded the tender to print the ballot papers for August polls.

“The conference was an important sign of confidence in the IEBC, and we urge all Kenyans to continue to support the IEBC,” the envoys said.

The added in the statement, “We warmly welcome the signing of the IEBC pledge to “peaceful and credible elections,” by so many Kenyans, including President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.”