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Kenya Ready for Wednesday’s Referendum, Says Official

  • Peter Clottey

The chairman of Kenya’s Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) has expressed confidence that the 4th August referendum will be transparent and credible as official campaigning is scheduled to end Monday.

Ahmed Isaack Hassan said the electoral body has put in place a plan to ensure Wednesday’s referendum is peaceful, as well as free and fair.

“Now, we are all set to go. We have prepared also our national tallying center of the results…because we are introducing a new system of transmission of results from each of the polling stations to the constituency tallying center and also to the national tallying center in Nairobi…in that way, we are improving the integrity of the process of the election,” he said.

Kenyans will go to the polls to decide in a referendum whether to accept or reject a newly proposed constitution. Both the “Yes” and “No” teams have reportedly intensified campaigning across the country to win support ahead of the referendum.

But, recent polls show a majority of Kenyans are in favor of the newly proposed constitution.

Last week, European Union (EU) observers praised Kenya’s preparations for the upcoming vote. Eric van der Linden, the E.U.’s top representative in the country, said he was pleased with the transparency of the process and called on Kenyans to turn out in high numbers.

Chairman Hassan said that the electoral body will be thorough, but prompt in declaring the results of Wednesday’s referendum.

“We are satisfied that what we have put in place, and the trainings we have conducted of all our staff, and the materials we have procured to be able to successfully deliver on this…I think we can confidently say that we will be able to have a more transparent (referendum). And, I hope, by the time we announce the results, Kenyans will have full-safe and confidence in the results, as representing truly the wishes and will of the Kenyan people,” Hassan said.

The proposed constitution forms part of the 2008 power-sharing deal that followed Kenya’s disputed presidential election. The vote dispute is widely believed to have sparked several weeks of riots and ethnic violence that killed an estimated 1,300 people.