EU, US warn against election boycott threats

October 7, 2017 11:12 am
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The statement also raised concerns about proposed changes to election regulations, the EU saying such modifications should not be carried out/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – The European Union and the United States have warned against attempts by the political class to undermine the forthcoming repeat presidential election.

In its statement on Friday, the EU particularly took issue with declarations made by a section of politicians against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) warning that such reckless utterances “could have an adverse effect on its ability to fulfill its Constitutional mandate”.

The statement also raised concerns about proposed changes to election regulations, the EU saying such modifications should not be carried out.

“Unreasonable demands, threats of boycott or attempts to change electoral regulation are to be avoided,” the communiqué read.

The union urged both the Jubilee Party and National Super Alliance (NASA) to take engagements with the electoral commission seriously and support the poll agency as it prepares for the fresh presidential election scheduled for October 26.

“All parties should seriously engage with the IEBC in a dialogue about processes and procedures, and support its work as it prepares for the new election,” the EU urged.

Equally, the U.S. State Department in a separate statement issued Friday warned politicians against unwarranted attacks on the electoral commission.

In the brief authored by the Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Bruce Wharton, the U.S. urged the political class to cease from making unreasonable demands on the IEBC and instead embrace dialogue to iron out contentious issues.

“While we support freedom of speech, baseless attacks and unreasonable demands on the electoral commission are divisive,” Wharton’s statement read.

“We fully support the commission’s efforts to engage leaders and parties in dialogue, and urge all to participate openly, seriously, and in good faith,” he added.

The U.S. State Department also discouraged changes to electoral laws ahead of the fresh presidential election.

“Changing electoral laws without broad agreement just prior to a poll is not consistent with international best practice, increases political tension, and undermines public perceptions of the integrity of the electoral process,” the statement read.

Kenyans were also urged to reject violence and instead use “the opportunity for the fresh poll to inspire and shape the future of the African continent”.

In light of the bi-weekly NASA demonstrations, the U.S. encouraged security services to exercise utmost restraint while quelling riots and ensure their response is “proportionate and appropriate”.

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