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Kenya: UN official hails peaceful atmosphere surrounding elections

Kenya: UN official hails peaceful atmosphere surrounding elections

The head of the United Nations Office in Nairobi today hailed the "orderly and calm" atmosphere prevailing during Kenya's national presidential and parliamentary elections.

Klaus Toepfer said the generally peaceful environment and the conduct of the public, officials, political parties and the Government indicated that Kenyan democracy had reached new levels of maturity 39 years after independence.

"It is my sincere hope and belief that these elections will send a signal to the globe that Kenya is a indeed a stable, democratic, country that is at peace with itself, at peace with its neighbours and at peace with the world," said Mr. Toepfer, who also heads the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Just 24 hours after the first votes were cast, he noted that fears of widespread violence had proved unfounded. "Let us hope that this mature, sober and impressive behaviour continues throughout the count right up to the official announcement of the Presidential victor and winning Members of Parliament," he said.

Noting that the polling came just over a month before environment minister from across the globe come to Kenya for UNEP's Governing Council, he urged those planning to attend to share in the country's "democratic institutions, in its stability and its aspirations for the future."