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Kenya’s elections and future rest in the hands of the Kenyan people

Waheshimiwa, mabibi na mabwana, hamjam- bo!  Habari zenu! It is  a  great  pleasure  to be

with you this morning at Kenya’s National Election Conference. In recent months, I have travelled this extraordinary, beautiful country from turkana to Nakuru, from tana River to Busia. It’s been a wonder- ful opportunity for me to talk with Kenyans. and more importantly, to listen to Kenyans.  to hear about the challenges they face, and the hopes and dreams that they have for themselves, their children, and their country.

In all those conversations, whether I was in Eldoret or garissa, Nyeri or Narok, Kisumu or Lamu, there has been a common thread: the 2017 elections.  they are critical for Kenya’s future. and all Kenyans know it.

Kenyans know that free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections will propel the country forward and help realize the great promise of the 2010 Constitution.  they know these elec- tions can consolidate their democra- cy, further devolution, and advance prosperity   for   all   Kenyans.     the united states stands with  Kenya as it heads into august. We do not support any particular candidate. We do not support any particular political party. But we do  sup- port the democratic process and the opportunities it provides. We want to help ensure Kenyans have a free, fair, credible, and peaceful opportu- nity to choose their own leaders and decide Kenya’s future on august 8th. to   achieve   this   goal,  Kenyans need confidence in the election pro- cess and its outcome.  the IEBC has an absolutely critical responsibility  to run the elections, to do so effec-tively and transparently, and to be a

neutral, unbiased arbiter. We, along with other international partners, are providing technical support and assistance to the IEBC to help make this happen.

We are also providing assistance for voter education, election observ- ers, and efforts to build peace.

We stand with Kenya, but ulti- mately, these are Kenyan elections. and I urge all Kenyans to do every- thing they can to support the IEBC and to work towards elections that are free, fair, credible, and above all, peaceful.

achieving this goal requires a strong IEBC, but also the commit- ment of all Kenyans. Not just politi- cians, but every citizen.

Politicians and political par- ties have a responsibility to pursue peaceful, issue-based, and corrup- tion-free campaigns. No one should misuse public resources to support a campaign. If candidates make state- ments that incite hatred or violence, they must be held to account. Not just with words, but with action. Political parties cannot encourage violence. I urge all Kenyans to reject those who call for violence and to press leaders to build bridges between communities, not to divide them.

strong democracies and good elections depend too on non-govern- mental  institutions.   the  rights  and freedoms of the media and of civil society are essential to successful polls. We encourage the media to be responsible in its election reporting. It should provide balanced coverage. Hate speech – words that stir up violence  or  threaten  other people

should not  be      those on social media also have a responsibility to avoid stoking hatred. and civil society organi- zations need space to do their vital work educating voters on rights and encouraging people to express their views while also fostering peace.

Religious  leaders  too,  can  be peacemakers – building tolerance in communities and encouraging dia- logue. the  police  and  security  officials have a responsibility to protect all Kenyans during the elections and to remain neutral, especially during political demonstrations. they   have   an   obligation to respect human rights and to ensure all eligible Kenyans can vote in safety and security.

and, citizens, on  election day,  should  turn  out to vote to make their voices heard through the ballot box.

Elections have winners and losers and everyone must accept – peacefully – the outcome. In cases where disputes arise, they should be resolved through the courts or other appropriate institutions in accord with the rule of law. Not through violence, threats, or intimidation.

No Kenyan should die because of an election. to realize the promise of the 2010 Constitution, Kenyans will need to reject chaos and work for the best possible elections this august.

I believe in Kenya. Kenya is a great country and Kenyans are a great  people.    these  elections  are an opportunity for the country to take another giant step forward. the  Kenyan  people  will  make  their choices on august 8th. Whatever the results, the elections aren’t an end, they  are  a  beginning.   the  Kenyan

tion day,  should  turn  out to vote to make their voices heard through the ballot box.

Elections have winners and losers and everyone must accept – peacefully – the outcome. In cases where disputes arise, they should be resolved through the courts or other appropriate institutions in accord with the rule of law. Not through violence, threats, or intimidation.

No Kenyan should die because of an election. to realize the promise of the 2010 Constitution, Kenyans will need to reject chaos and work for the best possible elections this august.

I believe in Kenya. Kenya is a great country and Kenyans are a great  people.    these  elections  are an opportunity for the country to take another giant step forward. the  Kenyan  people  will  make  their choices on august 8th. Whatever the results, the elections aren’t an end, they  are  a  beginning.   the  Kenyan inspire africa and the world. Pamoja tusonge mbele. asanteni sana.
This speech was delivered at the IEBC National Elections Conference that was held in Nairobi between June 12-14, 2017