Presidential candidates commit to peace as IEBC dispels rigging claims

Presidential Candidates Agano Party Waihiga Mwaure (left) and Roots Party George Wajackoyah (2nd right) with other Parties representatives UDA’s Veronica Maina(2nd left) and Azimio la Umoja’s Dr. Caroline Karugu during the IEBC National Election 2022 Conference at KICC, Nairobi on July 11, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The four presidential candidates have committed to promoting peace before, during and after the August 9 General Election.

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga, UDA’s William Ruto, Prof George Wajackoyah (Roots Party) and David Waihiga (Agano Party) pledged to accept the will of the people.

Speaking yesterday during the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission national election conference at KICC, Nairobi, Mr Odinga, who was represented by Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu, said past elections have been a matter of life and death.

“Azimio’s candidate Raila Odinga is committed to ensuring we have a peaceful process,” she said.

Fearful voters

Ms Karugu, who is the Azimio deputy chief agent, said Mr Odinga was concerned that since the 1992 General Election Kenyans have always come out poorer after every election cycle with deaths, injuries and destruction of property, making voters fearful.

Dr Karugu said President Uhuru Kenyatta is committed to leaving behind a united country when he retires, citing the Handshake with his former political rival the ODM leader which culminated in the decision to support Mr Odinga in the coming election.

UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina who represented Dr Ruto at the conference said Kenya Kwanza Alliance is confident the IEBC would conduct a fair election.

“Kenya Kwanza Alliance is supporting the use of electronic voter register since this is the system that was used to register voters and would minimise chances of malpractice and boost Kenyans’ confidence,” Ms Maina said. The UDA Secretary-General urged the commission not to be swayed in its determination to deliver a secure, verifiable and accountable electoral process.

She said the IEBC should only listen to the players in the exercise who have genuine concerns. Ms Maina asked the IEBC to put in place structures that will ensure a successful election will reflect the wishes of the majority and avoid unnecessary court cases.

Prof Wajackoyah called on presidential candidates to respect each other and avoid name-calling. He said he respects Dr Ruto who is the Deputy President and Mr Odinga since he played a crucial role in the opening up of the country’s democratic space.

“You will never hear me abusing or criticising any of my competitors, I would therefore like to call on Waihiga to desist from attacking me and instead concentrate on his campaign agenda,” said Prof Wajackoyah.

Media bias

The Roots Party presidential candidate accused the media of bias and working at the whims of powerful individuals. Prof Wajackoyah took issue with individuals alleging that he is a British citizen and clarified that he has a permanent resident Visa for the US. He said contrary to his unconventional thoughts he does not smoke and was only advocating for marijuana farming for commercial purposes.

Mr Waihiga said Agano party is concerned about the high cost of living, and hunger among other challenges faced by Kenyans, and called for a leader who will salvage the country.

The Agano party presidential candidate insisted that bhang is an illegal substance and anybody promoting its growth wants to ruin lives. IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati dismissed fears of rigging, saying the commission has nothing to hide.

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