from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THE Kenyan government has assured businesses of the safety and security of the country ahead of watershed polls in August.
Fred Matiangi, the Cabinet Secretary, allayed fears of election rigging and violence, which have marred previous polls in East Africa’s biggest economy.
“I want to assure you that the country is safe and secure,” he said.
He was speaking in response to matters raised at a roundtable hosted by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and National Development Implementation and Communication Committee (NDICC).
Matiangi said Kenya was stable and the places that were hotspots in 2017 were no longer volatile.
“I am certain we are going to have one of the most peaceful elections in the country this year,” he said.
Matiangi added that necessary laws governing the electoral process were in place, in addition to the provision of enough funding for the IEBC to hold transparent and credible elections.
KEPSA has made recommendations to the government on agendas to fast-track business and economic recovery by mitigating the effects of the COVID-19, rising food prices and the drought.
The agency believes incentives including tax, and regulatory reforms, guaranteed security, smooth transition of leadership after the elections and curbing the high cost of food production should be of top priority in 2022.
Incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, who is serving a second term, is to hand over power to the fifth president.
His deputy, William Ruto and longtime opposition leader, Raila Odinga, are favourites.
More than 1 000 people were killed during the worst election violence in Kenya, in 2007/08, after Mwai Kibaki (now late) won a second term ahead of Odinga.
The 2017 poll was marred by irregularities and the courts annulled Kenyatta’s election.
He won the rerun.
Meanwhile, at the roundtable in Nairobi, government made assurance of a committee to be established to address the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war.
“We need to explore alternative markets for key products sourced from Ukraine and Russia,” Carole Kariuki KEPSA Chief Executive Officer, said.
These include such as edible oils, wheat, steel and fertilizer.
Kenya imports 60 percent of its wheat shortfall from Russia.
“Similarly, we must move away from relying on rain-fed agriculture and adopt measures to increase irrigation as part of the measures to address the impact of climate change and drought while mitigating post-harvest losses,” Kariuki said.
– CAJ News