Kivuitu lashes at State over election observers
Published on November 1, 2007, 12:00 am
By Abiya Ochola
Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu, has slammed the Government for not inviting a section of international observers to monitor the General Election.
He also ruled out postponing elections in clash-torn regions.
Kivuitu said the Carter Centre and the African Union were yet to be invited by the Government to monitor the December 27 polls.
“It is sad that not all observers have been invited to monitor the polls. I do not know what we are hiding. We should allow all to come so that they do not disturb us after the election that there were some blemishes,” he said.
Kivuitu said he had asked the Government to invite the Carter Centre, African Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the European Union.
“But I was surprised when (Foreign Affairs minister Mr Raphael) Tuju failed to mention the Carter Centre and the African Union as those invited,” he said.
Speaking after opening a conference on ‘Promoting Issue-based Campaigns’ at a Nairobi hotel, Kivuitu said the elections were likely to be highly competitive, hence the need for an effective monitoring system.
“Kenyans trust foreign observers. They assist in the creation of environment for peaceful, free and fair elections,” he said.
He also appealed to the international community to financially support and train local observers.
Kivuitu also ruled out the possibility of postponing the polls in clash-torn Mt Elgon District.
He said the situation on the ground did not warrant such an action.
“The situation has not reached a stage to postpone the polls. We sent a team to investigate and the recommendation was that we use mobile polling stations. It is not very dangerous,” he said.
He at the same time challenged Assistant minister, Mr John Serut, to try and resolve the conflict, instead of asking for the postponement of the election.
He also lashed out at political parties for promoting what he termed political mediocrity by favouring wealthy, but intellectually challenged candidates.
“You are given preference even if you are an idiot so that you can take your foolishness to parliamentary debates,” he said.
He challenged parties to adopt and promote gender equity, saying lack of democratic nominations was to blame for gender disparities in political representation.
He said desperate politicians had played the tribal card hence fanning ethnic animosity during election periods.
Kivuitu also asked the media to report responsibly and cut out harmful propaganda from issue-based campaigns.