We support free, fair Kenya polls – Foreign envoys

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Since the violence of 2007/2008, the Kenyan people have made great progress.

They have passed a new Constitution and are bringing to life its promise.

Kenyans have rebuilt shattered lives, restored torn communities and reformed broken institutions. Now, with the election in March, Kenyans can take the next step.

A successful election will lead to a stronger Kenya; a Kenya with a booming economy, greater trade and investment and more jobs for its citizens. Kenya’s progress in the last five years is a testament to the hard work, dedication and resilience of its people.

As international partners of Kenya, we are proud to support Kenyans as they work to realise their hopes for the future through the coming election.

The choice of Kenya’s leaders in the election is up to the Kenyan people alone. We do not endorse any candidate or party over another. What we do support is a free, fair, peaceful and credible election. To achieve this goal, we are providing technical assistance to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Through a special UNDP basket fund and our bilateral aid we have given Kenya more than Sh8.5 billion ($100 million) for the election.

These funds have supported civic and voter education, domestic and international election observers, training of judges, police reforms, monitoring of hate speech, and early warning and response mechanisms.

These contributions were guided by what Kenyans themselves said was needed. We join hands with the IEBC, civil society and the many Kenyans across this country working for a successful, credible election.

Violence threatens the lives of people. It destroys livelihoods and threatens security and prosperity in Kenya and East Africa. It rips communities apart. We support Kenyans who reject violence and want peaceful elections.

We echo their call for all those seeking political office to pledge publicly their commitment to a peaceful election and transition, and to act wholly in accordance with the Code of Conduct set out in the 2011 Elections Act.

Kenya’s new Constitution embodies the promise of the rule of law and an end to impunity, underpinned by rights and responsibilities.

Candidates, whether standing for county assembly, women’s representative, Member of Parliament, Governor, Senator, or President, all have a responsibility to accept the results of the election, or resolve disputes using the legal mechanisms set out in the Constitution. If there are disagreements, they must be resolved in the courtroom, not the street.

In Kenya, as elsewhere, justice is critical for a strong democracy, a growing economy and lasting peace. Kenya cannot forget the victims of the 2007/2008 violence. They have a right to justice. Kenya is a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and we believe the court can serve as an impartial and independent arbiter.

The ICC can provide justice for the victims of violence and their families, while protecting the rights of the accused and offering them a fair hearing. We support Kenya continuing to fulfil its international obligations.

Kenya is a leader in Africa and beyond. The upcoming election is a chance for Kenyans to demonstrate that leadership once again and to build on the new Constitution.

It is a chance to move beyond the nightmare of 2007/2008 and to take the next step towards a more secure, stable and prosperous future. Doing so will offer hope not just to all Kenyans, but to the entire region. We are Kenya’s committed partners and friends at this important time.

If Kenya holds a successful election, rejects violence and division, and embraces democracy and accountability, then it will unleash the extraordinary talents and potential of its people. The international community continues to support you, the Kenyan people.

(Signed by Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Chargé d’affaires from: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, EU, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and US).

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