KENYA ELECTIONS: President Kibaki Calls For Peace During Polls

Kenya's outgoing President Mwai Kibaki
Kenya’s outgoing President Mwai Kibaki

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has called for peace during the March 4 general election in which the country will be electing its forth president.

In a televised address on Friday, Kibaki reminded Kenyans that voting in good leaders will shape the destiny of the country.  The president said peace is the cornerstone for development in a short and precise message that took less than ten minutes.

Kibaki reminded Kenyans to get out in large numbers and exercise their democratic right in a vote that he said would shape the destiny of the nation. He urged Kenyans to show the world that democracy has come of age in the country that witnessed the worst election-related violence in January 2008.

To those vying for political offices, Kibaki reminded them that in any elections there are winners and losers. He urged the winners to take victory with humility, while reminding the losers that the country still needed them. The president says there are many developmental roles that losers could take up.

Kibaki emphasized the government efforts in ensuring security across the country, noting that government had mobilized all security personnel. So far, police has deployed 99,000 officers to watch over 33,000 polling stations and hot spot areas across the country. Although it will be the first election that police officers will be voting, it remains to be seen how the police will efficiently handle protecting the citizenry while being impartial.

The special presidential address comes shortly after all eight presidential candidates were invited to State House for ‘a cup of tea’ on Sunday, a day before the historic vote. The State House meeting is seen as a way of Kibaki to say good bye to the candidates as he is set to retire after Monday’s vote.

Invitations were sent out to Cord candidate Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee, Amani’s Musalia Mudavadi, and Eagle’s Peter Kenneth. Other candidates invited are Martha Karua of Narc-Kenya, Paul Muite of Safina, Prof James ole Kiyiapi of Restore and Build Kenya and Abduba Dida of Ark.

Kibaki took over from Daniel Arap Moi in 2002 with the promise of economic growth in East Africa’s largest economy. But the outcome of the December 2007 elections dented his legacy because of the violence.

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