NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 18- Several foreign envoys to Kenya have called for peaceful political campaigns and respect for the rule of law ahead of the forthcoming 2017 General Elections.
The envoys observed that the country was well known for its peace and it was important that Kenyans try by all means to desist from anything that threatens the peace of the country.
The diplomats were speaking to the press when they graced this year’s 8th Edition of the Laikipia Highland Games hosted at the Laikipia Nature Conservancy (LNC).
Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Yahel Vilain said leaders must embrace the unity and togetherness demonstrated during sports saying such healthy competition should not divide the nation.
“We should keep the rules of democracy where everyone has the right to say whatever he thinks and to vote the way he thinks and stop it there. Don’t turn from voting to and expressing opinions into something which can turn into violence,” Vilain said.
He called on politicians to desist from making utterances that would fan chaos saying there is hope that in the coming years, people will see a prosperous country overcoming the current economic crisis the country is facing at the moment.
On his part, Dr Ralf Heckner, Switzerland’s Ambassador to Kenya noted that positive competition was necessary in any democratic country saying politics and sports are related in such a way that they are both governed by set rules with winners and losers.
“Rising political temperatures should not hinder development growth of the country but instead, political parties have to discover that this was just a competition that has to be free and fair,” Heckner urged.
Noting that Kenyans had a right and an obligation to vote, Heckner said the government and political leaders must ensure a peaceful environment for campaigns and voting.
Echoing his counterparts sentiments, Ireland’s Ambassador to Kenya Dr Vincent O’Neill added that the Irish government was impressed by the development growth and growing economy of the country.
He said his Irish government was committed to partnering and strengthening trade relations with Kenyan saying in the last one year, there was a two-fold increase in value of trade between Ireland and Kenya saying this would continue even in future to encourage exports of horticultural and other goods to Ireland.
“The international community is following keenly the political campaigns and as the European Union was ready to support where it can to ensure free and fair elections and to build on the positive progress that has been made along the years,” O’Neill said.
The envoys however applauded the country’s democracy which they said was still young and hence politicians should ensure that the rising political temperatures do not impede the development progress the country was making.