Your Righteousness the President of the Republic of Kenya, the Chairman 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 the various foreign missions present, the chief guest – Your Excellency the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen gentlemen…
I am very pleased 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 on behalf of all their people. We also know that this kind of democracy should never be taken for granted. Democracy requires nurturing, growth and people who believe in it.
For those who follow British politics, you’ve probably seen some recent twists and turns in the UK’s democratic history. They were as riveting as Kenya’s own debates as we approach six elections in less than a month.
This will be the third election in Kenya since the promulgation of the 2010 constitution. Like any other election, the August 9 general election is an important opportunity for citizens to elect leaders of their choice as defined by their rights guaranteed in the Kenyan constitution.
The UK shares a long-standing partnership with Kenya and is a loyal friend. We have a strategic partnership agreed by His Excellency President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It is a five-year partnership deliberately designed for this year’s Kenyan elections and UK parliamentary elections due to take place by 2025. Because the mutual interests of our two countries are higher than whoever is in power anywhere.
Our primary interest is that Kenya becomes increasingly stable and prosperous and continues to be a leading democracy that sets standards across the region. We’ve enjoyed standing shoulder to shoulder with Kenya on the world stage – on climate change, on education, on the UN Security Council. And we want this modern friendship and partnership based on mutual respect to continue.
So I want to make it very clear that it is Kenya’s responsibility to fund and organize elections. Who Kenyans elect is a matter for the people of Kenya. The UK respects Kenya’s sovereignty. We remain neutral and impartial.
At the request of Kenyan institutions, we supported good governance through programming to provide technical support to use lessons learned and improve standards to help strengthen the democratic process. As I hope you are already aware, the international community does not fund the major budgets of Kenyan institutions, including the IEBC.
We are proud to support reforms that have led to stronger and more accountable institutions, including the IEBC, the judiciary and civil society organizations. We want to congratulate these institutions that have demonstrated accountability in fulfilling their mandates and delivering services to Kenyans.
UK support for Kenyan elections
In line with our commitment to strengthen governance institutions in Kenya, we supported key electoral institutions to build on the lessons of the 2017 general elections. Our three-year Kenya Election Support Project (KESP) provided targeted support at the IEBC’s request in areas such as legal reforms, voter education, voter registration mobilization, strategic communications and election security management, strengthening cooperation and coordination between security agencies and the IEBC.
We supported closer consultation, cooperation 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 Electoral Commission, the Office of the Registration of Political Parties and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The work between these institutions is important for building 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 the Electoral Roadmap and Strategic Plan.
With 29 days to go until the August 9 general election, the world is watching Kenya’s example. We all want to see free, fair, credible and peaceful elections – a friendly competition and discussion of ideas and issues.
For our part, like other speakers, we call on all parties in this election to use the remaining campaign period to preach peace, peaceful action 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 elections – and those they represent – to contribute to free, fair, credible and peaceful elections before, during and after the 9th. August elections. We call on all candidates and political rivals to promote peace and unity, not division and conflict.
As I have said, the world’s attention is on Kenya and Kenya’s friends such as the UK remain ready 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, all stakeholders will reaffirm their commitment to free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
With these many remarks, I congratulate the IEBC for organizing what I am sure will be a successful National Electoral Conference.
The winner of the 2022 Kenyan elections must be independent institutions that reflect the will of the people. To those who work hard – day in and day out – to deliver this, I say thank you and I wish them the best of luck.
THE ASANTENI OF SANA