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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

U.S. urges Kenya Opposition to pursue electoral reforms within law

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday urged Kenyan opposition to pursue electoral reforms within the country’s laws and to avoid extra-constitutional actions such as the proposed “inauguration ceremony” slated for Dec. 12.

In a statement issued in Nairobi at the conclusion of a three-day visit by U.S. acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto, Washington called on authorities to respect independent judiciary, protect the democratic space for a vibrant civil society and media, and ensure all citizens have the right to express their views.

“We again call for an immediate, sustained, open, and transparent national conversation involving all Kenyans to build national unity, address long-standing issues, and resolve the deep divisions that the electoral process has exacerbated,” said the statement.

However, opposition leader Raila Odinga’s spokesman Salim Lone said the planned swearing-in is on course despite fears expressed by the government.

“Odinga’s swearing-in will be lawful. It will help prevent further polarization by giving Kenyans hope for electoral justice that was denied them, under a genuinely independent Electoral and Boundary Commission,” Lone said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Kenya’s election cycle dragged on from August to Nov. 28 when President Uhuru Kenyatta was inaugurated due to political differences over electoral reforms and rigging.

Lone said Odinga has also always been open to a dialogue as he had sought it before elections to ensure that it would be credibly done, but there was no interest in the dialogue nor in holding an honest election.

In its statement, Washington said its concerned by the recent outbreaks of violence and urged security services that they have a responsibility to show maximum restraint at all times and to protect the right of citizens to assemble.

“We urge the quick and independent investigation of reports of excessive use of force by the security services, and that officials responsible for abuses be held accountable. Protesters who are exercising their constitutional rights have an obligation to do so peacefully,” said Washington.

Odinga withdrew from the repeat presidential poll on Oct. 26 but his name was retained in the ballot.

He had argued that the mistakes that brought about the annulment of the Aug. 8 vote was most likely to be repeated because reforms have not been taken at the electoral body including the resignations of staffers who bungled the Aug. 8 general elections.

The opposition leader later urged the IEBC to postpone the repeat polls in light of the ongoing political turmoil and disagreements among the stakeholders, urging his supporters to stay away from the repeat exercise.

He has since announced the formation of a national resistance movement that is exerting pressure on the government to promote rule of law, electoral reforms and human rights.

Odinga said economic boycott, picketing and formation of a grassroots movement will underpin his quest for justice in the electoral system as well as political inclusivity.

 

UPDATE:

Odinga tells off Western powers against his inauguration as "People’s President"

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga on Thursday slammed the United States and other Western countries who are against his swearing in next week as "People’s President."

Odinga, who vowed that his Dec. 12 inauguration will continue as scheduled, accused Western countries of overstepping their mandate, saying the Western powers have been silent on police excesses against its supporters.
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The opposition leader’s remarks came a day after Washington urged Kenyan the Opposition to pursue electoral reforms within the country’s laws and to avoid extra-constitutional actions such as the proposed "inauguration ceremony" slated for Dec. 12.

"The United States urges opposition leaders to work within Kenya’s laws to pursue the reforms they seek and to avoid extra-constitutional actions such as the proposed ‘inauguration ceremony’ on Dec. 12," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.

The statement was issued at the conclusion of a three-day visit by U.S. acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto who had held talks with the civil society, the Opposition and government officials.

But the opposition leader said his swearing-in and the establishment of peoples’ assemblies is to protest electoral injustices that have taken place in Kenya.

Odinga who vowed he will never recognize the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta said the police have killed 215 since August and demanded an apology from the government.

  Kenyan Attorney-General Githu Muigai | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Attorney-General Githu Muigai addresses the press in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. Githu Muigai has warned National Super Alliance (NASA) against swearing-in opposition leader Raila Odinga. He clarified that should Raila Odinga be sworn in, he would be charged with treason since the constitution does not provide any avenue for an individual to inaugurate himself. XINHUA PHOTO - FRED MUTUNE
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The police have however denied the figure saying a few people died during the clashes between security officers and opposition supporters in Nairobi and in Western Kenya.

Odinga withdrew from the repeat presidential poll on Oct. 26 despite taking part in the Aug. 26 ballot in which President Kenyatta was declared the victor.

He had argued that the mistakes that brought about the annulment of the Aug. 8 vote was most likely to be repeated because reforms have not been taken at the electoral body including the resignations of staffers who bungled the Aug. 8 general elections.

The opposition leader later urged the IEBC to postpone the repeat polls in light of the ongoing political turmoil and disagreements among the stakeholders, urging his support to stay away from the repeat exercise.

He has since announced the formation of a national resistance movement that is exerting pressure on the government to promote rule of law, electoral reforms and human rights.

Odinga said economic boycott, picketing and formation of a grassroots movement will underpin his quest for justice in the electoral system as well as political inclusivity.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Githu Muigai said Thursday the controversial swearing in of Odinga amounts to high treason and warned that persons that will facilitate or be involved in the event will face the full wrath of the law.

"The constitution of Kenya provides in clear terms in Article 2 (2) that no person may claim state authority except as authorized by the constitution.

"A swearing-in of any other person not declared to have lawfully won an election by IEBC and administered by the Chief Justice is high treason in respect of the person involved and any other facilitating that process," Muigai told journalists in Nairobi.

Muigai has warned that treason is punishable by death.

"The criminal law of the Republic of Kenya, in Article 40 of the penal code provides or stipulates that that sort of process, is high treason," he noted.

He termed as illegitimate, the formation of People’s Assemblies by various County Assemblies which he said do not possess such powers.

"The People’s Assembly is an institution totally unknown to the constitution of Kenya and totally unknown to the County Governments Act. Parliament has not delegated any such power and the consequence for that is that those institutions are unconstitutional, illegal and are null and void," he said.

"A swearing-in of any other person not declared to have lawfully won an election by IEBC and administered by the Chief Justice is high treason in respect of the person involved and any other facilitating that process," Muigai told journalists in Nairobi.

Muigai has warned that treason is punishable by death.

"The criminal law of the Republic of Kenya, in Article 40 of the penal code provides or stipulates that that sort of process, is high treason," he noted.

He termed as illegitimate, the formation of People’s Assemblies by various County Assemblies which he said do not possess such powers.

"The People’s Assembly is an institution totally unknown to the constitution of Kenya and totally unknown to the County Governments Act.

Parliament has not delegated any such power and the consequence for that is that those institutions are unconstitutional, illegal and are null and void,” he said.

             

 

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