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Germany calls for de-escalation of political confrontations

The Spokesperson of the Federal Republic of Germany said on Saturday that the continued dispute between Jubilee and NASA is putting the fresh poll slated for October 26 at jeopardy/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – The German government has called for the de-escalation of political confrontations between the ruling Jubilee Party and the Opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) as the country readies for a fresh presidential election.

Through its Spokesman, Germany said on Saturday that the continued dispute between Jubilee and NASA is putting the fresh poll slated for October 26 at jeopardy.

“This dispute is putting the democratic electoral process at risk. The Kenyan economy is already suffering as a consequence of the uncertainty in the country. There is a danger of escalation,” the Spokesman said in a statement, and warned the two parties against making excessive demands on the electoral commission or changing the electoral law at short notice.

Germany appears concerned at the hardline position by NASA leader Raila Odinga who insist there cannot be elections unless his irreducible minimums–including the ouster of electoral commission Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba–are met.

It is also concerned at the spirited effort by the Jubilee MPs who are already working to amend sections of the electoral laws days to the repeat presidential election ordered by the Supreme Court which nullified the polls held on August 8 won by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The fresh poll between kenyatta and Odinga is now due on October 26.

“Now is not the time to make excessive demands of the independent electoral commission or to change electoral laws at short notice,” the statement stated.

The German government also urged the two political camps to demonstrate a willingness to compromise and to refrain from violence.

The holding of a fresh poll within constitutional timelines, German said was vital to upholding stability in the country.

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Failure to hold elections before the 60-day deadline elapses, it noted, could plunge the country into a major political crisis.

The United States and the European Union also issued similar statements on Friday warning 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 Jubilee and  NASA to take engagements with the electoral commission seriously and support the poll agency as it prepares for the fresh presidential election.

“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 warned politicians against unwarranted attacks on the electoral commission.

In the brief from the office of 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.

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“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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