NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – The United Nations is appealing to political leaders to urge their supporters to refrain from violence and seek legal redress to solve election disputes arising from the just concluded General Election.
While congratulating Kenyans for peaceful participation in the August 8 polls, UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement that the United Nations is engaged with the country’s political leaders and relevant stakeholders to facilitate the successful conclusion of the electoral process.
“The Secretary-General takes note of the results of the presidential election in Kenya, and of the announcement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of His Excellency Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as President-elect. He calls on those political leaders disputing the elections results to address election-related disputes through the relevant constitutionally mandated institutions,” the statement by Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric read.
“The Secretary-General calls on the political leaders to send clear messages to their supporters urging them to refrain from violence. The Secretary-General also stresses the importance of dialogue to defuse tensions,” he urged.
In its report, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) indicated that 24 people had lost their lives between August 8 and 12.
According to the report, “the deaths can be directly linked to the post-election environment,” KNCHR Chairperson Commissioner Kagwiria Mbogori said, indicating that the victims were felled by bullets.
“The same has been corroborated by family and community members who have indicated that they were killed during the protests which broke out in various parts of the country,” Mbogori told journalists on Saturday.
Only one person was killed in Kisumu according to the report, with Migori, Siaya and Homa Bay recording two casualties each.
Nairobi County had the highest number of deaths recorded at 17.
The Commission pleaded with the Interior Ministry to rein in security personnel said to be using excessive force on protesters even as Acting Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi refuted claims that police had killed protesters following the announcement of the presidential election results on Friday.
“Peaceful demonstrations and picketing are protected by the Constitution and our police always act according to the law,” he said during a news conference at Harambee House on Saturday adding that anyone who wished to hold a peaceful demonstration would be protected.
“Individuals or gangs that a looting shops, that want to endanger lives, breaking into people’s businesses; those are not demonstrators, they’re criminals,” he asserted accompanied by his Cabinet colleague Joe Mucheru (ICT), Inspector General of National Police Service Joseph Boinnet, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Principal Secretaries Karanja Kibicho (Interior) and Ambassador Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs).
At a press conference on Saturday, Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa commended residents of the six coastal counties for maintaining peace during and after Tuesday’s General Election adding that the peace attained in the region was largely because citizens remained determined to peaceful participation in elections.
“We want to inform Kenyans and all citizens in the region that the elections went on peacefully. We want to attribute the peace to God and the people as well as the stakeholders who agreed to keep the peace,” he said in Mombasa.
Marwa urged those who feel aggrieved by the outcome of the elections to seek legal redress warning criminals against creating disharmony in the region.
“If there’s any leader out there who feels the process was a fraud, we encourage them to seek redress in a court of law. All counties have reported calmness and we want to ensure that this calmness continues and anybody taking advantage will be met with sufficient force of the law,” Marwa pointed out.
The coast region like most parts of the country remained calm after the declaration of presidential results with a few cases of sporadic demos being reported in parts of Kisumu, and Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare suburbs.