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Peaceful, Credible Vote Goals in Kenya Constitutional Referendum

  • Peter Clottey

The chairman of Kenya’s Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) has called on the country’s eligible voters to cast their ballot peacefully in Wednesday’s referendum.

Ahmed Isaack Hassan said the electoral body is committed to ensuring a transparent and credible vote that will not be a repeat of the 2007 disputed poll.

“We are appealing to all Kenyans to come out and vote peacefully. We are encouraging everybody who is registered as a voter to turn out in large numbers so that we can have a successful referendum. We are urging all our staff all over the country to conduct themselves with professionalism, integrity and transparency, so that we are able to have a free and fair referendum,” he said.

Kenyans are scheduled to decide Wednesday whether to accept or reject a newly proposed constitution.

Analysts say, if it passes, Kenyans will go to the next election scheduled for 2012 with a new 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 officials of the electoral body have been trained to be at their “utmost professional best” to conduct the referendum.

“As a commission, we have committed ourselves to delivering a transparent process for the referendum. From the time we started recruiting our staff, the election managers, the constituency coordinators, down to the polling officials, we have done it in a very transparent manner. We have made every available opportunity to make sure that we conduct ourselves very professionally,” Hassan said.

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