Conference on National Elections in Kenya: Speech by Jane Marriott

Your Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, the President of the IEBC, the Commissioners of the IEBC, the Chief Justice, the representatives of the independent commissions present, the candidates and leaders of the political parties present, the ambassadors of various foreign missions present, the guest of honor – Your Excellency Mr. President of the African Union Commission, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen…

I am delighted to be here today and would like to thank the IEBC for inviting me to this important event.

The UK strongly believes in responsible and accountable governments that govern for all of their people. We also know that such a democracy should never be taken for granted. Democracy needs nurturing, growing and people who believe in it.

For those who follow British politics, you will have seen some of the recent twists in UK democratic history. They have been just as gripping as the debates in Kenya as we head towards six rounds of elections in less than a month.

This will be the 3rd election in Kenya after the promulgation of the 2010 constitution. Like all other elections, the general elections on August 9 are a key opportunity for citizens to elect the leaders of their choice, in accordance with their rights guaranteed by the constitution of Kenya.

The UK shares a long-standing partnership with Kenya and is a committed friend. We have a strategic partnership, agreed by His Excellency President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. This is a five-year partnership deliberately designed to cover elections in Kenya this year and parliamentary elections in the UK, due before 2025. Because the mutual interests of our two countries are more important than anyone else’s power, in both places.

Our fundamental interest is that Kenya becomes increasingly stable and prosperous, and continues to be a leading democracy, setting standards across the region. We have enjoyed standing side by side on the world stage with Kenya – on climate change, on education, on the United Nations Security Council. And we want this modern friendship and partnership, based on mutual respect, to continue.

I therefore want to be very clear that financing and organizing the elections is the responsibility of Kenya. Who Kenyans elect is a question for the people of Kenya. The UK respects Kenya’s sovereignty. We remain neutral and impartial.

At the request of Kenyan institutions, we have supported good governance through programs aimed at providing technical support to capitalize on lessons learned and improve standards, to help strengthen the democratic process. As I hope you know by now, the international community does not fund the core budgets of institutions in Kenya, including that of the IEBC.

We have been proud to support reforms that have led to stronger and more accountable institutions, including the IEBC, the judiciary and civil society organizations. We would like to commend these institutions, which have demonstrated accountability in carrying out their mandates and delivering services to Kenyans.

UK support for elections in Kenya

In line with our commitment to help strengthen governance institutions in Kenya, we supported key electoral institutions to learn from the 2017 general elections. Our three-year Kenya Election Support Project (KESP) provided targeted support at the request of the IEBC, in areas such as legal reforms, voter education, mobilization for voter registration, strategic communications and election security management, which strengthens collaboration and coordination between security agencies and the IEBC.

We have supported closer consultation, collaboration and coordination between the key electoral institutions of the Government of Kenya. In this regard, we welcome the continued dialogue and engagement between the IEBC, the Judicial Committee on Elections, the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The work between these institutions is important to build trust in the electoral process.

We are pleased to see the progress made by the IEBC in preparing for the 2022 general elections, in line with its electoral operations plan and strategic plan.

Our message

With 29 days left until the general elections on August 9, the world is watching Kenya’s example. We all want to see free, fair, credible and peaceful elections – the contest and debate of ideas and issues, in a tone of friendship.

For our part, like the other speakers here, we encourage all parties in this election to use the remaining campaign period to preach peace, act peacefully and work in a way that promotes confidence in the electoral process and electoral institutions. .

As a friend of Kenya, the UK Government calls on all those present in all six types of election – and those they represent – to do their part to contribute to free, fair, credible and peaceful elections, before, during and after the 9 August elections. We call on all political candidates and competitors to promote peace and unity, not division or conflict.

As I said, the world’s attention is on Kenya, and Kenya’s friends like the UK remain available to support the Kenyan people, the Kenyan government and institutions in their preparations for the elections in august. I am confident that through this conference there will be a renewed commitment from all stakeholders to commit to free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.

With these many remarks, I commend the IEBC for organizing what I am sure will be a successful national election conference.

The winner of Kenya’s 2022 elections should be independent institutions reflecting the will of the people. To those who work hard – day in and day out – to deliver this, I say thank you and good luck.


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