by Christine Lagat
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The East African Community Election Observer
Mission (EAC EOM) has called upon Kenyan political leaders and
election managers to embark on a process of reconciliation and
healing in the wake of divisions that were witnessed during the
just concluded repeat presidential polls.
from the regional bloc issued in Nairobi on Sunday noted that
hostilities witnessed before, during and after the repeat polls
are a wake-up call for Kenyan leaders to promote cohesion.
"All actors and stakeholders in Kenya's elections should
endeavor to address the underlying issues which continue to
cause mistrust to institutions of government and fellow Kenyan
citizens," read the statement
The EAC deployed an election observer mission to Kenya to
monitor preparations and actual voting during the October 26
repeat presidential polls.
Observers who visited 192 polling stations in 17 counties
across the country said though the voting exercise adhered to
the constitution and electoral laws, it was marred by low voter
turnout, boycotts and violence in opposition strongholds.
They decried polarization that preceded the repeat polls and
urged the government and non-state actors to promote an
inclusive, fair and transparent electoral process.
"The government should ensure that a conducive environment
for elections prevails in the entire country to enable the
participation of all voters in the voting process," noted the
Kenya should learn from the short-comings of the repeat
presidential polls to prevent them from recurring in the future.
The EAC observer group said that new reforms in the electoral
process coupled with dialogue among different political
groupings is key to averting crises during future polls.
"The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)
in collaboration with other stakeholders should ensure necessary
reforms are undertaken to address all the challenges identified
in the post-election review," said the EAC observers.
They urged political parties to prevail upon supporters to
refrain from actions that threaten national security, peace and
cohesion in order to hasten post poll healing in Kenya.
U.S. calls for inclusive
dialogue to resolve political divisions in Kenya
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The United States on Monday called for an all-inclusive dialogue
to help resolve deep political crisis in Kenya following a
disputed repeat presidential elections held last week.
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said it is worrying to
see violence and use of extreme force by security forces
especially in opposition strongholds after repeat poll which was
boycotted by opposition leader Raila Odinga.
"We appeal for calm in the coming days.
"We call on all Kenyans to come together at this critical
moment to reject the politics of hatred and division," Godec
said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
"We again urge there will be an immediate, sustained, open,
and transparent national dialogue involving all Kenyans to
resolve the deep divisions that the electoral process has
exacerbated," said the envoy.
Godec said security services have a special responsibility to
show maximum restraint in the use of force, and should use it
only when there is no other choice to protect life and property.
"We are deeply concerned by reports of excessive use of force
by the police; we urge that all such allegations be fully
investigated and any officers who have acted outside the law be
held to account.
"Protesters who are exercising their constitutional rights
have an obligation to do so peacefully," he said.
The statement comes amid complains from Kenyans including
human rights group that heavily armed police are using excessive
force against protesters and bystanders in the Western counties
of Kisumu, Homabay, Migori and Siaya in what appears to be a
deliberate campaign to punish inhabitants for continuing to
protest amid chaotic elections over the past week.
At least six people have lost their lives in electoral
offenses across the country in the past week following clashes
between the police and the youth in opposition areas who
attempted to prevent polls opening by blockading polling
stations or intimidating voters.
Godec called on leaders and politicians to publicly reject
violence and work to keep the peace, and make every effort to
ensure their supporters do so as well.
"In this regard, we welcome the work being done by some
governors, religious leaders, civil society representatives, the
Kenya Red Cross, and others to help keep the peace and assist
those affected by the violence," he said.
Kenyans voted on Oct. 26 repeat presidential polls after the
Supreme Court nullified the Aug. 8 presidential elections citing
irregularities and illegalities.
The voting exercise was largely peaceful in most parts of the
country save for sporadic riots in the opposition strongholds
where it was boycotted.