Azimio leader Raila Odinga is calling on the African continent to be on the watch out and ensure only credible elections are carried out across the continent.
He made the remarks while addressing the Leadership Conference and Awards in Abuja, Nigeria.
The General election in Nigeria, Africa’s populous nation that has witnessed its fair share of electoral challenges, is slated for February 25.
“If Africa wants to achieve the goals of agenda 2063, it must prioritize and entrench free, fair and credible elections to all member states,” Raila submitted during the conference that he attended at the invitation of the Leadership Group.
“As a continent, we have to agree that critical development infrastructure cannot succeed without a legitimate and democratically elected government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens and to the investor community.”
While noting that he supports Africa 2063 agenda which seeks social-economic transformation of the continent, Raila cited credible elections as the only pathway that can guarantee sound development.
The ODM leader who has vowed not to recognize the ruling Kenya Kwanza regime, regretted that the country was fast setting the pace for bad election practices for the continent.
“Kenya has become a laboratory for bad election practices that others borrow across the continent. Back home, I have expressed fears that if we do not comprehensively and credibly address the issue of credibility of this election outcome last year, the virus will spread and affect the upcoming elections on the continent.”
According to Raila, Africa has since the re-introduction of multiparty politics in the 1990s witnessed the steady deterioration of the quality and the credibility of elections.
In many countries, he avers, election management bodies have been captured by the ruling parties or individual politicians making it impossible to have fair contests.
“The capture leads to skewed processes like voter registration and appointment of election management officials with disastrous consequences.”
He now wants African countries to rethink the use of technology in elections claiming that some people have taken advantage of technology “to subvert the will of the people.”
“As we have witnessed in Kenya in 2017 and in 2022, technology is getting compromised and results altered. This has severely damaged the credibility of election management bodies in many of our countries.”
Raila, who has five times unsuccessfully contested for the presidency, has been on a war path, castigating the then led Wafula Chebukati IEBC commission for using technology to rob him victory during the August 9 polls.
Chebukati, whose term ended on January 18, 2023, has consistently rubbished the claims terming the conduct of the elections above board.