| EU cautions on interference with IEBC work
27 July 2012, Standard Digital Kenya
The European Union is calling for concerted efforts to ensure free and fair elections.
Commenting on controversial tendering of the Biometric Voter Registration system by IEBC, the EU said the process must not be hampered by political interference.
The seven heads of mission speaking on behalf of the 27 EU members said it’s the desire of Kenyans to see free, fair and peaceful electoral process.
"This is fundamental to Kenya’s development and stability and to consolidate the gains for a new Kenya promised by the Constitution,” said Bernard Rey, Head of Operation, EU delegation to Kenya.
The commission has been under criticism from politicians and civil society over claims that its tendering on the BVR system creates loopholes for rigging elections.
But IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan has since dismissed the allegations terming them as misplaced fears.
He warned politicians against interfering with bidding for biometric and digitised voter registration equipment.
Hassan added that the commission is an independent body that has a mandate as per Article 88 of the Constitution to compile and maintain the voter’s roll and cannot therefore be influenced.
EU and other members have, so far, pledged 26 million Euros (Sh2.6 billion) to IEBC through the UNDP’s election basket.
The EU said they respect the independence of the IEBC and the good reputation it has built over time.
"We encourage the commission to reinforce this reputation by demonstrating to Kenyans the mechanisms and safeguards it is putting in place to ensure the integrity of the elections,” read part of the statement.
Other envoys in attendance were Bart Ouvry (Belgium) Christian Turner (UK) Etienne de Poncins (France), Agis Loizou (Cyprus), Ann Dismorr (Sweden), Aleksander Kropiwnicki (Minister-Counselor, Poland), and Emma Anderson (Programme Officer, Finland).
oting that there remains many things to be done in the run-up to the elections, the EU requested the Judiciary to conclude the election related cases for the polls to be delivered as scheduled.
They asked the IEBC and the State to enforce the news electoral laws.
EU Heads of Missions called for an end to hate speech and negative ethnicity. They applauded efforts of the Mkenya Daima campaign and many other non-State actors to build cohesion ahead of the elections.
"We are optimistic that Kenya can have free and fair electoral processes if there is continued commitment of all stakeholders. We stand ready to do all we can to support Kenya and the IEBC on this effort.”