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US to pump Sh2.5b into 2017 vote, says Kerry

COUNTIES
By Moses Nyamori | August 23rd 2016
US Secretary of State John Kerry. He announced that the United States will give Sh2.5 billion to ensure free, fair and credible polls and to prevent the country from slipping into election-instigated chaos as witnessed in 2007. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

United States Secretary of State John Kerry has applauded the ongoing electoral talks and said that the country must have a trusted electoral body to conduct next year’s polls.

Mr Kerry announced that the United States will give Sh2.5 billion to ensure free, fair and credible polls and to prevent the country from slipping into election-instigated chaos as witnessed in 2007.

Addressing a press conference in Nairobi yesterday after a meeting with regional ministers, Kerry urged the country’s political leaders to resolve their disagreements through peaceful means.

He said that President Uhuru Kenyatta assured him, when he hosted him at State House, that the country would pull out all the stops to ensure it holds elections that would be accepted by both sides of the political divide.

He said it is upon the political leadership to ensure that the country does not experience electoral violence.
“I urge that disagreement in policy and process be resolved peacefully. It is upon leaders to ensure 2007 does not reoccur,” Kerry said.

“America does not support any side but we would do anything we can to help Kenya have free, fair elections,” he added.

He, however, said that ensuring the country goes through a peaceful election period can only be achieved if the country and its people are committed since this is “your country and your elections.”

The top US diplomat stated that holding credible and accepted polls is critical for Kenya in consolidating the country’s democracy under its new Constitution promulgated in 2010.

“Holding successful elections is a whole society’s concern. You need business people, political leaders and everybody to come together and dialogue. Let me just emphasize that holding free and fair, as well as peaceful elections is a critical step in consolidating Kenya’s democracy,” he said.

For the last couple of months the country has been treated to a heated debate over the credibility of election commissioners. 

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