The electoral commission has been asked to conduct a system dry-run with peer reviewers in order to seal any loopholes that may affect its efficiency during the March 4 General Election.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) executive secretary, Engineer Mahboub Maalim warned that the electoral process may stretch to June this year given the complexities that may arise.
Engineer Mahboub said that after examining the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC's) timelines and doing simulations internally, Igad has concluded that the election will not be an event but a process.
“The Kenya election is not an event. It is a process and the March 4 election is not the end; it is the beginning of a process that could last until June 2013. Kenyans must therefore brace themselves for the long haul,” the Igad boss said.
The regional body singled out the IEBC and the Judiciary as the most critical institutions to the success of the coming polls.
“The efficiency of IEBC during the voter registration process must be lauded. We expect that the same efficiency will apply to the March 4 poll,” said Engineer Mahboub during a press conference held in Nairobi.
Igad said the commission’s ability to conduct a free and fair election will avert poll petitions arising from its systems failure.
“The efficiency and believability of the Supreme Court in dealing with the presidential election petitions is also critical. This will determine whether or not the transition is successful,” the regional development body added.
Igad asked the electoral body to test-run its electoral systems ahead of the polls saying it was ready to support the electoral team and other national institutions to avoid scenarios witnessed in the just concluded chaotic party nominations.
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“This preparedness is important for sustainable peace after the March 4 polling. Igad therefore appeals to all Kenyans of goodwill to remain calm and patient throughout this period.”
Igad's advice came as the IEBC cleared eight presidential candidates who will fight to succeed President Mwai Kibaki.
Wednesday the electoral commission received nominations papers from the Jubilee Alliance's Uhuru Kenyatta and Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) flag bearer Raila Odinga.
Former Kabete MP Paul Muite of Safina Party and Mohammed Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change were also cleared to contest the presidency.
On Tuesday, four candidates Musalia Mudavadi (Amani Coalition), Martha Karua (Narc Kenya), Peter Kenneth (Kenya National Congress) and James Ole Kiyiapi of Restore and Build Kenya party got the IEBC's nod to run for the presidency.
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All the candidates asked the commission to conduct free, fair and credible elections to guarantee peace prior, during and after the elections.