Head of the European Union Elections Observer Mission in Kenya, Marietje Schaake, says the upcoming elections should not be a life and death affair.
She stated that Kenyans have shown that all they want is a peaceful, credible and transparent process in the exercise of their democratic rights.
She was speaking in an interview with Daniel Finnan of Radio France International’s English service ahead of the deployment of the mission’s short term observer team for the August 8 general elections.
Elections should never be a matter of life and death, secondly; security and the ability for every Kenyan to cast his or her ballot according to how he or she wishes in peace and in a secure environment is essential.
“Elections should never be a matter of life and death, secondly; security and the ability for every Kenyan to cast his or her ballot according to how he or she wishes in peace and in a secure environment is essential,’‘ Schaake said.
She also weighed in on the murder of the electoral body’s IT chief, Chris Msando, she said the murder underscored the need to increase security for officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Schaake further described the elections as important not only for Kenyans but for the entire East Africa region. ‘‘They are important elections for Kenyans, important elections for the region and elections that the world is looking at.’‘
Given that they are general elections – Kenyans will be voting for the presidency, governorship, members of parliament and members of county assemblies.
The main race will be between President Uhuru Kenyatta will be seeking a second term, he faces stiff competition from former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. There are six other candidates on the ballot paper.
Kenya elections are usually dogged with ethnic tensions in an already volatile region. It is often the focus of continental and global players due to its sensitivity. Post-election violence in 2007 claimed over 1,000 Kenyan lives displacing over half a million others.
‘‘The vast majority of Kenyans want these elections to be peaceful transparent and credible, so we assess the extent to which the complete electoral process, the campaign, election day and the aftermath meets the criteria that are spelt out in Kenyan law, the consitution, the electoral code and of course its commitments under international law as well,’‘ she concluded.