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Diplomats issue stern warning to leaders ahead of forthcoming election

October 24, 2017 5:14 AM
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Diplomats issue stern warning to leaders ahead of forthcoming election

Foreign envoys on Monday said Thursday's repeat presidential election must be held as provided for in the Constitution.

Robert Godec, the US ambassador to Kenya, said solutions to Kenya's current challenge must be found in the supreme law, not outside of it.

"This election must be held in accord with the Constitution and its laws. If anyone goes to court to seek an extension of that time, it’s upon the courts and Kenyans to decide,” said Mr Godec.

Twenty heads of mission from Europe and America said only the courts, acting on a petition by any party, including the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, could postpone the poll.

They said in the absence of such a deal, the country had no choice but to proceed with Thursday’s vote in line with the Constitution and Supreme Court ruling.

With fears voting may not take place in Opposition strongholds due to violence and intimidation of electoral officials, the envoys urged the 'no election' crusaders to respect the rights of those seeking to vote.

“No one is obliged to stand for office, or to vote if they do not wish. But no one should use violence or intimidation to disrupt the right of others to vote or participate.

"Doing so is profoundly undemocratic, and leaders must tell their supporters to refrain from such actions,” Godec said, adding that those who incite supporters should be held to account.

National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga, who has announced his withdrawal from the repeat poll, is leading his coalition in a drive against the election.

European Union and US chiefs spoke as United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said their organisations continued to closely monitor developments in Kenya as they urged politicians and their backers "to create conditions for a peaceful election".

Yesterday, the envoys said although they respected the right of NASA leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka to withdraw from the poll, they regretted that the decision would deny millions of their supporters an opportunity to vote.

They have also asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to reconsider signing into law the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, saying changing the law in the middle of an election process would undermine the exercise.


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