The electoral agency is playing its role to ensure that Tuesday’s elections are peaceful and credible, Nation Media Group Board chairman Wilfred Kiboro has said.
Dr Kiboro spoke at a forum held by the National Peace and Mediation Team (NPMT) on Thursday in Nairobi.
“We believe that they are really doing their best to carry out this election. As you know, they always have a lot of challenges considering the time frame they need to prepare. We appreciate the huge logistical issues they have to deal with,” he said.
Many citizens have wondered how prepared the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is for the elections, citing its procurement practices and failures in the dry run of its new results transmission system. But Dr Kiboro urged support for the agency.
“What I would urge all of us Kenyans to do is to have confidence in the body that was constitutionally created to carry out the elections. Let us support them because we know that they are well equipped to give us a satisfactory electoral exercise,” he said.
He urged journalists to cover the elections with integrity and avoid broadcasting content that can provoke violence.
“One thing I would like to encourage the media across the country to do is to ensure that we do not become instruments of conveying messages that compromise the state of peace in the country during this season,” Dr Kiboro said.
The NPMT is an initiative of eminent Kenyans from diverse sectors to promote cohesion and peaceful dispute resolution mechanisms before, during and after the August 9 elections.
The initiative was created against the backdrop of political violence in previous elections. It seeks to prevent and mediate election-related conflicts.
The NPMT is headed by Anglican Bishop Jackson Ole Sapit and co-chaired by Faurdin Abdalla.
Speaking on behalf of the team, Dr Abdalla encouraged Kenyans to vote in peace.
“Given the current electoral environment, the team is concerned about potential triggers of electoral violence that are increasingly being mapped by both state and non-state actors, including the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, … religious leaders and civil society,” Dr Abdalla said.
He cited the persistence of hate speech, fake news, misinformation and disinformation at physical forums and online especially targeting women candidates.
He said the team appreciated the efforts of institutions such as the IEBC, urging the agency “to enhance their efforts to give Kenyans free, fair, transparent and credible elections”.
The team urged candidates and voters to accept the results of the elections and if dissatisfied seek redress in court in accordance with the Constitution and electoral laws.
“The decision within the stipulated law can only be implemented by the court, and that should be respected, because in any case there is always going to be a winner and a loser,” Dr Abdalla said.
If candidates are dissatisfied with court decisions, he said, the NPMT can mediate and ensure justice is served.
“If there’s no justice in court, we as members of [the NPMT] are committed to doing whatever is within our mandate and moral obligation to mediate any cases before the court,” he said.
“We must always remember that Kenya belongs to all of us, both the current and future generations, and it is our singular duty, honour and responsibility to make sure we preserve and bequeath a better Kenya to the generations to come.”