Poll chaos on horizon must be averted — global partners – The Star, Kenya

Kenya could be staring at election-related violence, if necessary measures are not put in place to avert chaos.
That’s what the international community and Kenyan security agencies have warned.
Representatives of United Nations, the Embassy of Sweden and the Ministry of Interior said measures must be put in place to stop the political class from inciting Kenyans against each other.
They spoke at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development on Tuesday during the launch of the Uwiano Platform for Peace 2022-23 Strategy. It is a platform to strengthen coordination and leadership towards a free, credible, inclusive and peaceful general election.
UN Resident Coordinator for Kenya Stephen Jackson said political temperatures have been rising as the August 9 election draws closer.
“The UN is working on rebuilding early warning systems together with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission,” he said.
“Continuous risk mapping needs to be scaled up as key moments in the electoral calendar come up.”
Jackson said Kenya has an impressive history of democracy and was certain the elections will not cause chaos.
“Whether citizens or foreigner, we all are determined to have peaceful elections,” he added.
Sweden Ambassador to Kenya Caroline Vicini said she has been “seeing signs of potential violence but also seeing enormous engagements by the society to avert it”.
Ambassador Vicini expressed confidence institutions mandated to give Kenyans a peaceful elections will be up to task.
“Kenya has enjoyed peace for most of the time since Independence. If we look around, this has paid off because Kenya is way ahead of other countries in terms of development,” she said.
NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia said he is convinced the role of his institution to achieve nonviolent free elections will be realised
“I am convinced and happy that with more partners coming on board, with new strategies, ideas and synergies. We will together realise violence-free elections in August 2022,”he said.
“We are all aware of war drums sounding across the nation with the ever-changing political landscape on a daily basis and hate speeches. But I am here today to announce that the days of such haters of peace and lovers of violence are numbered,” Kobia said.
Ahunna Eziakonwa, a UN under secretary general, said efforts should be made to protect women and children from electoral violence. He is also assistant administrator and director of the UNDP regional Bureau for Africa.
 “Women are increasingly becoming vulnerable and susceptible to election violence,” she said.  
Peter Thuku, the secretary of the National Steering Committee on Peace and Conflict Management under the Interior ministry, said the government is committed to deliver a successful and peaceful general election
“We all need to be prepared to manage the conflicts and possible violence likely to be associated with elections,” he said.
Thuku said party politics driven by negative ethnicity, personalities and manipulation of the electorate through voter buying and other malpractices increase the possibility of violence.
“Experience shows election processes have been riddled with tensions, conflicts and acts of violence,” he said.
“Some of the major causes of conflicts during elections revolve around poor governance, unemployment and poverty. Not forgetting the new induced vulnerabilities posed by Covid-19,” Thuku said.
He said, however, there are also structural causes of violence, which include land ownership, unbalanced distribution of national resources marginalisation, of communities, socio-economic deprivations and inequalities, among other factors.
“I therefore call upon the electorate to elect leaders who propagate peace in their counties,” Thuku said.
(Edited by V. Graham)
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