Kibaki declares elections to be held in 2013

By Francis Ngige and Steve Mkawale

Kenyans continued to be in the dark on the date of the General Election, with President Kibaki beating a hasty retreat after hinting at polls being held this year.

On Friday, a visiting United States of America official called on Kenyan leaders to end anxiety on the election date.

Ms Wendy Sherman, the US Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, is scheduled to meet with senior Government officials in Nairobi. She is expected to stress America’s interest in peaceful and transparent elections, and continued implementation of the Constitution.

At a function in Nyeri, President Kibaki was forced to issue a clarification to an earlier statement he made at the same function to the effect that he expects elections in December.

After news alerts were circulated in regard to his earlier statements, there was a flurry of consultations among his handlers that eventually led to his clarification.

Before the President’s clarification, the Director of Presidential Press Service Isaiya Kabira had told journalists that the President had been quoted out of context.

When the President, who opened a Nyeri County Forum meeting at Sagana State Lodge, rose to close the meeting, he said he wanted "to clarify some misleading information being peddled by the media on the issue of elections".

"It is important to restate that the court ruled when the election date will be – March 2013. I cannot change that because I respect what the court ruled," said Kibaki.

"The issue is not whether I like the date. The court has stated when the election shall be, which is March 2013. I did not change that position during my earlier speech," Kibaki declared.

But in his address earlier, Kibaki said: "Kama tutachaguana, tutachaguana mwisho wa mwaka huu (If we are going for elections, it is at the end of this year).

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