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Tanzania government denies interference with Kenyan elections

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania on Monday restated its denial that the east African nation was interfering with the Kenyan electoral process towards the polls on October 8.

Augustine Mahiga, Minister for Foreign Affairs, East African, Regional and International Co-operation, said reports by some of the Kenyan media that Tanzania was interfering with the elections in Kenya were baseless.

"Tanzania has and will never interfere with any foreign country’s affairs, including the Kenyan elections," Mahiga told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Recent reports by some of the Kenyan media claimed that Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has set a tallying center in Tanzania that will ensure that vote counting was not rigged.

Kenyan incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila are in a tight race for the presidency.

The minister added: "We do not understand why this is coming at this time, but I have to assure our people that Tanzania will never think of doing such a move to any country."

He said Tanzania will always cherish the relationship that existed between it and Kenya for many years and that at no time will it attempt to interfere with its neighbor’s internal affairs.

"Tanzanians and Kenyans should understand that the political temperature in Kenya is, understandably, very high due to the elections scheduled to take place in August," said Mahiga.

He added: "The rival camps are using every technique in the playbook to outperform one another but the Tanzanian government is not siding with any of the two major camps."

Some Kenyan media have reported that Tanzanian President John Magufuli was supporting Raila, his longtime friend.

But Mahiga said Tanzania respected and believed in the principles of democracy and good governance and thus there was no way it could stick its nose into Kenyan internal political affairs.

He asked the public to ignore the misleading reports in some of the Kenyan media saying they were unhealthy for the growth of democracy and good relations in the region.


Kenya’s electoral commission ready to conduct presidential polls

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s electoral body on Monday said that it is ready to conduct Aug. 8 general elections which are closely contested.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioner (IEBC) Commissioner Roseyln Akombe told a media briefing in Nairobi that recruitment and training of the 300,000 electoral staff who will manage the exercise is ongoing as scheduled.

"Given the preparations we have done so far, we are confident we will deliver free, fair and credible elections that will reflect the will of the voters," Akombe said.

The East African nation’s general elections will involve over 19 million voters who will choose leaders in over 40,000 polling stations.

The commissioner said that the final voter register has been completed and will be published in all polling stations one week before the elections.

IEBC plans to conduct its final test on the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System on July 31.

"The exercise will test the technology that will be used on voter identification and transmission of results," she said.

The electoral body noted that its previous tests have indicated that the biometric voter identification has 98 percent accuracy.

"Only less than two percent of the voters will be identified through manual processes," she added.

The electoral body has begun discussions with mobile telecoms to assist in the electronic transmission of the results.

However, in areas with no network coverage the polling body will use satellite phones for communication.

Akombe said that printing of the voting material that is being done outside the country will soon be completed.

"We expect the ballot papers will have arrived in the country by the Aug. 3rd so that we begin the countrywide distribution of the voting material as soon as possible," she said.



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