John Kerry's team urges political leaders to dialogue

Carter Center's election observation mission in Kenya co-leader John Kerry speaks at a press conference in Nairobi, on August 10, 2017. The US-based NGO has asked political leaders to dialogue. FILE PHOTO | EMMA NZIOKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Carter Center has urged political leaders’ political leaders to put personal agendas aside and take steps to heal the country while maintaining the country’s constitutional order.

In a statement, the US-based NGO said the political leaders should engage in constructive dialogue to bridge the gap between the opposition and ruling parties, and their respective supporters, following the October 26, repeat poll.

National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka withdrew from the repeat poll but their names were retained in the ballot. Nasa has also called for boycott of some products from companies they accuse of supporting the Jubilee administration.


So far, five petitions are pending at the Supreme Court, with three of them challenging the outcome.

The statement said the fresh presidential election unfolded in a context of heightened tensions stemming from the protracted electoral process, confrontational tactics and harsh verbal attacks by key political leaders, and outbursts of violence around election day.

“These problems severely undermined the ability of Kenya’s electoral and judicial institutions to implement the fresh presidential elections. Rather than consolidating support for a national political program, the election polarised the country and exposed the deep tribal and ethnic rifts that have longed characterised its politics,” the statement added.

The centre added that it was regrettable that the actions of political leaders served to weaken its democratic and independent institutions, constrain the ability of citizens to participate in the civic affairs of their country, and damage the nation’s democratic development.

In the days ahead, it is incumbent on political leaders to put personal agendas aside and take steps to heal the country while maintaining the country’s constitutional order.

The Carter Center promised to release a comprehensive statement on the overall election process at a later date.

The Center sent a core team of experts in Kenya since April, monitoring key parts of the electoral process, including voter registration, campaigning, electoral preparations, and the recent resolution of disputes in the courts.

The team deployed a limited number of election observation mission for the repeat poll because of insecurity surrounding the polls, the uncertain political environment, and “the lack of a fully competitive election”.


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