Foreign envoys slam plans to disrupt Oct 26 poll

October 23, 2017 (4 weeks ago) 4:29 pm
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The ambassadors, High Commissioners and chargés also drawn from the European Union say the Opposition should desist from employing violence and intimidation in an effort to stop the election from taking place/HILARY MWENDA

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – Twenty foreign missions led by the United States and the United Kingdom have advised Opposition leader Raila Odinga to direct his concerns regarding the credibility of Thursday’s fresh presidential election to the Supreme Court.

The ambassadors, High Commissioners and chargés also drawn from the European Union say the Opposition front should desist from employing violence and intimidation in an effort to stop the election from taking place.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey has in particular called out the Opposition leaders for condoning and even leading an assault on officials undergoing training on election procedures in Kisumu last week.

“It would be a profoundly undemocratic act to try to interfere through intimidation or violence with the holding of an election under Kenya’s Constitution and we’ve called on the side that is doing that to stop,” Hailey said.

The envoys again also pleaded with President Uhuru Kenyatta not to make good on the promise he gave on Monday morning – during an interview with vernacular radio stations – to assent to amendments to the election laws.

They again stated that to do so would be ill-advised so close to an election, especially as they are contested.

READ: Uhuru defends knee-jerk changes to election law as envoys caution against it

The diplomats have, in response to the political tension that has thickened the air on the eve of the fresh presidential poll, joined in calls for dialogue.

 

Dialogue which they submit should have been taking place between the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the political players right from the onset.

President Kenyatta, immediately preceding a meeting with IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on Monday, however ruled out talks aimed at a boardroom brokered fresh election date acceptable to Odinga, saying the IEBC which set the October 26 election date should operate independently.

READ: Akombe’s resignation jolts Chebukati into asserting authority over political players

And while the envoys agreed with President Kenyatta that the country cannot continue to exist in suspended animation on account of an election, they joined Chebukati in querying whether forcing an election in the currently political climate could possibly yield a credible result.

“The United States would much prefer, and I think my colleagues would agree, if Raila and Kalonzo were participating in this election.”

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