11 March 2013
South African President Jacob Zuma has congratulated newly elected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and the people of Kenya following the conclusion of peaceful elections in the east African country last week.
“President Zuma looks forward to working together with the Kenyan government and the people of Kenya in strengthening bilateral relations which have tangible benefits for our people and in which South Africa and Kenya can learn from one another as we seek to contribute positively to our regional bodies and our continent,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement on the weekend.
Speaking in Pretoria on Saturday, Zuma said: “What the people of Kenya have done is what democracy is all about.”
The South African government commended Kenya’s Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for engaging the country’s public and political parties in an open, transparent and accountable manner to ensure that it effectively delivered on its mandate.
South Africa participated in the observation of the elections under the auspices of the African Union election observer mission and the Commonwealth observer mission.
According to the department, the elections were conducted in a peaceful, transparent and credible manner that accorded the people of Kenya the opportunity to express themselves freely at the polls.
The department “commended the people of Kenya and the other candidates for the patience and commitment they demonstrated on election day, as well as during the period leading up to the final announcement of the outcome of the elections by the IEBC, to uphold peace and never again allow their country to be wracked by violence.”
The South African government was “confident that any of the parties that might have a dispute with the outcome of the general elections will adhere to the Electoral Code of Conduct and their undertaking to follow the required legal avenues that have been put in place for managing such disputes,” the department said.
“Since the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1992, the people of Kenya have shown their determination and will to consolidate peace, enhance national reconciliation, strengthen Kenya’s democratic process and lay the foundation for economic and social development.”