Observer groups in the Kenyan elections that kicked off this morning have called on that country’s political parties and presidential candidates to abide by the electoral code of conduct (ECC) and to respect their commitment to nonviolent participation in the electoral process.
The observers also trust that the Kenyan government and the security forces will secure all stakeholders in a transparent and impartial manner.
This is according to a joint statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today by the Carter Center, East African Community, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the Commonwealth and the European Union (EU).
The observer groups have also requested the Kenyans to respect the right of fellow voters so that they choose their representatives freely without any intimidation or violence.
And the observer groups were hopeful that all political actors will abide by the rule of law and allow the independent and electoral boundaries commission to conduct the polling, counting and tabulation process freely.
The group has further urged anyone with a complaint about the electoral process to follow the established judicial procedures.
Kenya’s front runners in this year’s presidential elections are Prime Minister Raila Odinga, 68, who lost in the 2007 race and 51 years old, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.
According to preliminary polls, both candidates are running neck-and-neck ahead of six other candidates and are depending heavily on loyalties from rival tribes for votes.
The Kenyan media has also reported that many voters had queued up hours before sunrise to cast their ballots before polling stations opened at 6 A.M (0300 GMT) this morning.
Voting is expected to end at 5 P.M (14:00, GMT) but voters that are already in queues at that time are usually allowed to cast their ballots.