Kenya’s electoral body said on Monday that it will offer logistical support to enable major political parties to conduct fair and peaceful nominations slated for mid April, officials said on Monday.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO Ezra Chiloba said that a sound technical backup will enhance the capacity of leading political parties to conduct flawless nomination to select candidates that will vie for elective posts during the Aug. 8 national polls.

“Free and fair party nominations are key to strengthen democracy in the country and we are ready to be part of this exercise that commences in the middle of April,” Chiloba told journalists in Nairobi.

The country’s electoral body recently announced that political parties are required by law to conduct their primaries in mid April to select candidates who will vie for local and national elective posts during the August general elections.

Chiloba said discussions with major political parties on modalities of conducting peaceful nominations are at an advanced stage.

“We are exploring areas of collaboration with political parties to strengthen their capacity to hold controversy free primaries ahead of August national polls. The primaries are an integral part of a democratic electoral process,” said Chiloba.

Kenya’s major political parties that include the ruling Jubilee Party (JP) and its opposition rival, National Super Alliance (NASA) have sought the assistance of the electoral body to enable them carry out credible nominations in mid April.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party early this year requested the electoral body to oversee its primaries to prevent malpractices that might jeopardize its chances of reclaiming national leadership.

The mega opposition outfit is yet to declare whether the electoral body will oversee its primaries.

Chiloba clarified the electoral body is not mandated by the constitution to conduct party nominations but can only lend technical and logistical support to ensure they are successful.

“It is our hope that political parties have sound internal systems to facilitate peaceful primaries but we are ready to assist them achieve that objective,” Chiloba said.

Kenyans will on August 8 troop polling stations countrywide to elect representatives of national and local governments that include the president, lawmakers and ward representatives.

Pundits have predicted a hotly contested election that will test the east African nation’s political stability and economic resilience. Enditem

Source: Christine Lagat, Xinhua/

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