What you need to know:
- Embassies and High Commissions from the eight countries expressed “deep concerns” over unrest witnessed during two days when the opposition and other groups participated in demonstrations in several parts of the country, where destruction of places of worship and private property was witnessed.
At least eight western countries have called on President William Ruto, Azimio leader Raila Odinga, political leaders and Kenyans to peacefully resolve disagreements that have resulted in street protests over the past two weeks, even as they agreed with the African Union (AU) that 2022 elections were conducted successfully.
Embassies and High Commissions from the eight countries expressed “deep concerns” over unrest witnessed during two days when the opposition and other groups participated in demonstrations in several parts of the country, where destruction of places of worship and private property was witnessed.
In a joint statement, Ambassadors and High Commissioners from Australia, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden the UK and the US asked both leaders and citizens to “show restraint and work towards a swift resolution for the common good of Kenya.”
“As friends and partners to Kenya, we are deeply concerned by the recent unrest and violence as well as the destruction of places of worship and private property. It is also damaging economic activity at a time of significant financial challenges,” they said.
The diplomats also asked all actors to take responsibility to ensure adherence to principles of democracy and the rule of law, while exercising the constitutional right to peaceful protest.
“All actors also have a responsibility to adhere to the principles of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. We welcome the commitment by the Inspector General of Police to launch an investigation into recent events, including the destruction of private property,” the Ambassadors and High Commissioners said.
While recognising that Kenya has “rightfully earned a reputation as an anchor of stability, security and democracy in Africa and beyond”, the diplomats also united with the AU in commending the conduct of last year’s elections, which form part of Mr Odinga’s reasons for holding demonstrations.
Mr Odinga lists three key issues behind the protests: lowering the cost of living, opening of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers for accountability on August 2022 election results and a halt to the process of appointment of IEBC commissioners.
While the protests started as a Monday-only event on March 20, he has since scaled them up to a Mondays and Thursdays affair beginning this week.
“We agree with the Africa Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson in recalling the successful conduct of the general elections in 2022, and the unanimous confirmation of their results by the Supreme Court,” the Ambassadors and High Commissioners stated.