U.S. observers urge Kenya to respect apex court verdict, avert crisis
NAIROBI, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — The United States-based observer group on Monday called on Kenya’s political leaders to respect the Supreme Court verdict which upheld President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in the Oct. 26 repeat polls.
The Carter Center also called on political leaders to initiate a process of sustained national dialogue to heal the wounds aggravated by the often tense and tumultuous electoral period.
“We urge the government, especially the security forces, and demonstrators to exercise restraint in the coming days,” the group said in a statement issued hours after the apex court dismissed two petitions that challenged Kenyatta’s victory.
“We remind the Kenyan government of its obligation to protect the constitutional rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and security of the person, to enable inclusive participation in the country’s political and dialogue processes,” the observers said.
The Carter Center said while the 2017 elections represent a clear setback for democratic processes in Kenya, going forward, they depend on political leaders and their supporters to seek common ground.
The group called on Kenyatta, who has a fresh mandate to lead all Kenyans for the second and last term, to reinitiate the national dialogue that culminated in the 2010 constitution.
“A renewed dialogue should result in additional measures to address the ethnic and tribal rifts that have long characterized Kenya’s politics, while ensuring the protection and fulfillment of the rights of all Kenyans,” the Carter Center said.
The observers who have been in Kenya for the past three months warned that events surrounding the Aug. 8 general election and the re-run in the Oct. 26 fresh presidential election undermined the rule of law in Kenya and the country’s democratic institutions.