NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 19 – National Cohesion and Integration Commission has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga to embrace dialogue and heed Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) call for talks in a bid to end the current political stalemate in the country ahead of next week’s presidential poll.
The agency Chairperson Francis Ole Kaparo said on Thursday the hard line stance of the two sides in regards to next week’s presidential election risks plunging the country into chaos and a full blown conflict that will affect the growth of the country.
“We are appealing to the political leaders and their supporters to explore alternative means of resolving the issues at hand. We urge the government and opposition to act with openness, sobriety and tolerance in addressing the source of the current impasse,” said Kaparo during a press briefing on the current political situation in the country.
Kaparo noted that it was time for the political leaders to act and reach out to each other for the sake of the country arguing that it would be a grave mistake to hope that the current political situation witnessed in the country would be resolved through threats and counter threats or public condemnation.
“Our leaders need to agree whether they want to follow the rule of the law or that of the jungle, it is very imperative for Kenyatta and Odinga to embrace talks,” said Kaparo.
With the hardening positions by the two main political outfits in the country, Kaparo warned that the hard-line stances taken by the politicians would further divide the country which went through a deadly post election period in 2007 and 2008.
“A polarized Kenya is a road for endless mistrust, hostility and economic retrogression. That is the road we must not travel,” said Kaparo.
Kaparo further asked Kenyans to exercise restraint and desist from engaging in violent demonstrations, hate speech and threats which can only heighten the tension around the repeat presidential election.
“To the supporters of the political class we urge you to embrace tolerance, restraint and respect diversity. Elections come and go but Kenya remains. Your neighbors remain hence we have to preach peace, love and unity. Let us be our brothers keepers,” noted Kaparo.
At the same time, Kaparo appealed to the electoral body to put its house in order and assure Kenyans of a free, fair and credible election.
“We urge IEBC to follow the law and provide credible elections,” said Kaparo.
Kaparo however stressed that the electoral body should be accorded with sufficient support from all quarters for its success.
“We urge all stakeholders to give the IEBC the necessary support to enable them deliver on their mandate,” said Kaparo