The United States has pressurized Kenya to hold free, fair, credible and transparent polls next month, saying that the 2007 and 2013 polls were marred by irregularities. A report tabled before the Congress by three of its members on Monday said that the international community was concerned by “delayed preparations" by the Kenya Electoral Commission, adding that IEBC was yet to test critical voting equipment, with only 20 days to the polls.
“Kenya has had two consecutive national elections — 2007 and 2013 — each of which was marked by questionable results and violent aftermaths,” said Representative Eliot Engel, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Engel said the delays could contribute to a situation where the credibility of the polls will be questioned. The Congress discussed resolutions which state department and USAID can carry to help Kenya hold a credible poll.
“We're introducing [these measures] because we consider Kenya a strategic partner for the United States and because of the potential for these elections to have far-reaching implications across the continent," the representative said.
Engel called on Kenyan government and political parties to ensure that Kenyans participate in a process that will not raise suspicion with the elections results.
“We call on the ruling party, opposition parties and the electoral commission to ensure the election is transparent,” he said.
“The United States has long encouraged Kenya's democratic consolidation and I commend our Ambassador to Kenya, Bob Godec, for his work on this issue in the past five years."
He noted that Kenya and the US will continue to partner in the promotion of regional security terming Kenya as a hub for humanitarian assistance, finance, and transportation.