UN cancels global conference in Nairobi on poll uncertainty


State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu addresses journalists. PHOTO | PSCU

A United Nations agency has cancelled a high-profile international conference scheduled for Nairobi next week due to political uncertainty in the country.

The United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) cancelled Kenya’s hosting of a global prevention coalition meeting on October 10 and 11, due to political tensions in the country.

This comes as anti-Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) protests called by the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) resume today. They are scheduled to be held on Mondays and Fridays.

The demonstrations are aimed at forcing out electoral officials that Nasa accuses of bungling the August 8 polls.

The global HIV prevention coalition was set to convene its inaugural meeting to launch a results-based roadmap with a clear set of commitments and actions for scaling up prevention programmes and reducing new infections.

The prevention 2020 road map was expected to be launched during the Nairobi conference.

“On Thursday last week, Cabinet was informed that UNAids had now cancelled Kenya’s hosting of a global prevention coalition meeting scheduled for Nairobi on October 10 - 11, informed by the perception of uncertainty fuelled by those who wish to see anarchy reign,” said State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu on Sunday during a media briefing.

READ: MPs move to trim IEBC boss powers in presidential poll

He said that would have meant booming business for transport and logistics operations, restaurants and interpreters.

“As a country, we must return to certainty. We may not always agree with the institutions mandated to perform certain functions, but we must respect their decisions,” said Mr Esipisu.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga last week said Kenyans would not relent in pushing for reforms at the electoral body. Mr Odinga said there would be no repeat presidential election on October 26 if there are no reforms at the IEBC.

Last year, Kenya hosted two high-profile international conferences – the UNCTAD 14 conference in July and the Japan-Africa conference in August.