NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The United States on Friday expressed concern
over the political developments in Kenya and urged the parties to
shun violence and avoid changes to the electoral law ahead of the
Oct. 26 presidential re-run.
A statement from the U.S.
State Department received in Nairobi said Washington is closely
monitoring Kenya’s electoral process and what politicians are saying
"Kenyan leaders and citizens must reject violence and call on
others to do the same," the U.S. said in the statement which came
hours after the opposition, the National Super Alliance (NASA)
supporter staged protests to press for the reforms at the electoral
body including changes in staff who bundled the Aug. 8 general
The U.S., which expressed its deep concern by the deterioration
in the political environment in Kenya, called on security services
to use the utmost restraint in handling demonstrations, and any
response must be proportionate and appropriate.
It said the U.S. remains committed to supporting a free, fair,
and credible election "that is consistent with Kenya’s Constitution,
current laws, and institutions, and we do not back any party or
But Washington said in recent weeks actors on all sides have
undermined the electoral commission and stoked tensions.
The U.S. said changing electoral laws without broad agreement
just prior to a poll is not consistent with international best
practice, increases political tension, and undermines public
perceptions of the integrity of the electoral process.
The statement comes as political stalemate is stalking Kenya
following the annulment of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in Aug. 8
polls by the Supreme Court.
The East African nation is currently facing uncertainty as
political leaders from major parties namely NASA and Jubilee engage
in grandstanding over fresh elections scheduled for Oct. 26.
Analysts have warned that without an election within the
constitutionally mandated 60-day window, Kenya will enter unmarked
treacherous constitutional political terrain.
Washington said a peaceful and transparent poll that provides all
Kenyans a voice in choosing their next President will require that
the electoral commission have the independence and support it needs
to fulfill its Constitutional and legal obligations.
"While we support freedom of speech, baseless attacks and
unreasonable demands on the electoral commission are divisive. We
fully support the commission’s efforts to engage leaders and parties
in dialogue, and urge all to participate openly, seriously, and in
good faith," it said.
The statement comes after street protests against Kenya’s
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) carried out
by opposition supporters turned chaotic on Friday in Nairobi and
western parts of the country thereby hurting businesses.
What began as a peaceful march against electoral agency’s
officials accused of bungling the Aug. 8 polls later turned into
violent confrontation between protesters and anti-riot police.
Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday urged Odinga to
stop destroying the country’s economy for his selfish interest and
urged him to stop putting his personal interest before the interests
of 45 million Kenyans.
Kenyata, who spoke in reaction to the destruction in the lakeside
city of Kisumu of private property, including a supermarket, and
water supply system of the lakeside town, said Odinga should take
responsibility for the damage being caused to the economy through
Speaking in Meru town in central Kenya, where he wrapped up his
campaign tour of the populous county, Kenyatta said Odinga should be
mindful of the interest of the Kenyan people and should engage in
politics that does not jeopardise the nation’s wellbeing.
He said the opposition was bringing up endless demands before the
Oct. 26 fresh presidential election because they know Kenyans will
reject them as they did in the Aug. 8 poll that was nullified.