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Foreign envoys urge Kenyans to refrain
from hatred, violence ahead of re-run

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Envoys from 15 Western countries on Tuesday called on Kenyans to refrain from rhetoric and actions that incite hatred and violence ahead of the release of the full ruling on presidential elections by Supreme Court.

In a joint statement issued in Nairobi, some foreign envoys from the U.S., Britain, France, Italy and Norway among others also condemned false malicious “Judicial Capture” documents that have been publicly circulating which they warned could endanger lives.

“We urge the Kenyan authorities to hold to account those responsible for hate speech and incitement and to ensure the safety of those wrongly attacked, including members of our own Mission staffs,” the envoys said.

In recent months the East African nation has witnessed an upsurge in troubling fake news, hate speech, and ethnic profiling.

In addition, the envoys said, there have been unfounded attacks on individuals and institutions, for instance on the judiciary and the Independence Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) targeting certain officials and judges.

“While we support freedom of speech, baseless attacks and lies must stop, and leaders on all sides should work to ensure they do. They risk undermining Kenya’s Constitution, the rule of law, and the nation’s peace and security,” said the envoys.

The diplomats said Kenyans should instead focus on preparing for the new poll, which, in line with the Court’s order and the Constitution, must be run by the electoral body and be held by the end of October.

“We and our teams will continue to act with complete impartiality, in line with our shared commitment to Kenya’s Constitution and its institutions,” they said.

Four out of six judge bench at the Supreme Court on Sept.1 declared the election of the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta invalid citing massive irregularities in counting and transmission of votes.

The electoral body has set Oct. 17 to conduct fresh nominations amid opposition from the Odinga-led NASA coalition that has maintained there will be no elections until certain reforms are implemented at the IEBC.

But the envoys pledged to continue working with the IEBC and with all Kenyans who seek to ensure the new presidential election is free, fair, and credible.

“A successful poll will require goodwill and flexibility from leaders and citizens alike. Politics must not be a matter of life or death,” said the envoys.

“We urge everyone to keep the peace and to respect the Constitution, its values, and the institutions it established. As partners, we stand with Kenyans who seek to move the country forward and to strengthen the country’s democracy.”


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