Prime Minister Raila calls for peaceful campaigns ahead of the elections
Written by PMPS
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Prime Minister Raila Odinga says parliamentarians and those aspiring to vie for elective posts in the forthcoming general must be prepared to carry out peaceful campaigns so that elections are conducted in an atmosphere of peace, mutual respect and co-operation.
He said that contestants ought to keep in mind that the health of Kenya's post-election future depends on peaceful elections.
The Premier said this Friday while addressing a forum for MPs and other stakeholders on peaceful elections held at Mombasa continental resort.
The meeting also addressed by President Mwai Kibaki, is organized by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to examine the role of stakeholders in enhancing peace during election in the country.
The PM noted that right actions and utterances by contestants will be paramount in setting the right tone that guarantees peaceful elections.
"The legitimacy of elections in a young democracy such as ours rests in no small part on our shoulders as leaders'', he said, adding that it is the duty of MPs to meet public expectation of valid and credible elections.
The PM also urged the lawmakers to outrightly strive to keep the trust that Kenyans have bestowed on them by providing positive leadership.
He advised them that to live to these expectations by espousing the politics of issues and policies, while at the same time eschewing unreservedly; the divisive politics of personality.
"It is very easy to take populist cheap shots at opponents and to make inflammatory statements that excite crowds, but we must all fully and responsibly take on board that such utterances can easily lead to violence'' ,he said.
At same time the Premier asked the MPs to offer the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission full and practical support to enable the organization to implements legal provisions on electoral offences.
While advising civil servants and members of the security apparatus to stick to the code of regulation and avoid politics, the PM called on the National Cohesion Commission to development operation standards so that the commission stops micro managing politician in an amorphous manner.
"The cohesion commission should not micro manage politicians but allow them to use words as long as those words are not inflammatory or inciting'', he said.
The PM promised that police reforms are on course and will be fully in place before the general elections.
But, the PM was categorical that all Kenyans had a stake in ensuring that country conducts peaceful elections.
On this note, he challenged citizens to play their part in taking responsibility for nurturing a cohesive country.
He stated that the public must be equally committed to a future dependent on peace among all our nation's 42 tribes.
He told the meeting that never again should the country witness election violence as this should be a thing of the past.
At the same time, the Premier underscored the importance of the media in ensuring that the country has peaceful elections.
"The role of the media ought to be positive and not destructive'', he said.
The PM appealed to members of the fourth estate and other professionals to help frame an issue oriented campaign where ideas are deliberated.
In this regard, he said the media should avoid being used to fan violence but position itself as a custodian of peace through choosing what they print or broadcast.
Dr. Odinga said,'' in the past election the country witnessed the devastating effects of a flawed election that resulted into violence that left hundreds dead, thousands uprooted from their homes, never to return''.
He said that the potential for violent situations must be recognised in good time and addressed promptly, through peaceful political mechanisms.
Others who addressed the forum included Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, Chief Justice Dr.Willy Mutunga, Ministers George Saitoti and Eugene Wamalwa.