NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Foreign envoys from 11 Western countries on
Sunday called for "sustained, open and transparent" national
dialogue to help avert political crisis that has engulfed the
East African nation since October 2017 elections.
joint statement issued in Nairobi, the envoys from Britain,
Germany, United States and Australia among others said such
dialogue should be able to build national cohesion and help
resolve the deep issues that were sparked by the electoral
"We again call for an immediate, sustained, open, and
transparent national conversation involving all Kenyans, to
build national cohesion, address long-standing issues, and
resolve the deep-seated divisions that the electoral process has
exacerbated," said the envoys.
"As partners, we will do all we can to help; but only Kenyans
can resolve the country’s problems.
"We are investing in Kenya and have great hope for the
"But Kenyans must summon now all their strength and resolve,
reaffirm the Constitution, and put the country back on the path
to democracy, prosperity, and security." the statement said.
The Western diplomats who expressed concern about the
political developments in Kenya criticized both the government
and the Opposition for taking steps that have undermined the
country’s institutions, and driven wedges among its citizens.
"The government, which should be the guarantor of liberty and
freedom of expression for all under the law, has shut down
television stations, seized the passports of Opposition leaders,
refused to obey court orders, and deported a prominent
Opposition lawyer," they said.
"A father of multi-party democracy has made unsubstantiated
claims about elections and unilaterally sworn himself as
‘President’, in deliberate disregard of the Constitution for
which he so proudly fought," said the envoys.
According to the envoys, these events follow two elections
that left many Kenyans dead and many more livelihoods disrupted.
The government shut down all the four popular television
stations after the swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga
as the "people’s president" on Jan. 30.
The stations had to turn to online transmission during the
The government, which had disobeyed court orders to restore
the transmission of the TV stations, had accused the stations of
reneging on an agreement it had with them not to air the
opposition fete for security purposes.
However, the government restored transmission to all the
stations last week following a round of criticism from both
Kenyans and international community.
The diplomats called on the Opposition to accept the decision
of the Supreme Court to uphold the election of October 26, 2017
which declared Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as the legitimate
President and Deputy President.
"The Opposition needs to accept this as the basis for the
dialogue that it and many Kenyans want.
"Stoking and threatening violence are not acceptable, nor are
extra-Constitutional measures to seize power," they said.
The envoys said the ambitions of politicians are
fundamentally weakening institutions, and breaking the bonds of
shared citizenship, which Kenyans have built up patiently over
They urged the government to comply fully with court orders
and follow legal process in appealing or contesting them.
"Freedom of expression, freedom of the media, and all civil
rights need to be protected.
"When individuals are arrested, their rights should be
respected and due process followed.
"Citizens have the responsibility to protest non-violently,
and security services should avoid unnecessary or excessive use
of force," said the diplomats.
Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet has also ignored
an order directing him to free opposition lawyer Miguna Miguna
who has since been deported to Canada despite protests from the
The High Court had ordered the politician to be released on a
500 U.S. dollar cash bail following his arrest at his home.
Boinnet also ignored orders to appear in court in person to
explain circumstances that also led to Miguna’s deportation.
"Whatever the conduct of others, the government has a special
duty to protect democratic institutions and adhere to the
Constitution and the rule of law at all times." they said.
Meanwhile, lawyers will from Monday launch nationwide Yellow
Ribbon Campaign to protest the government’s brazen disregard of
court orders and violation of the Constitution.
Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero said the
government’s behaviour is a recipe for anarchy because it
encourages Kenyans to disrespect the law.
"It should always be the government that demonstrates to the
citizens, by its example and conduct, the importance of strictly
adhering to and respecting the law.
"When a government shows contempt for the law it becomes
impossible for it to require citizens to respect the law," Okero
said in a statement issued late on Saturday.
"Fidelity to the law is the solemn and patriotic obligation
of all," Okero said.
The Kenyan lawyers have been using the Yellow Ribbon campaign
since 2002 to support constitutional and judicial reforms in the
The ribbon may be worn on a person, placed on a vehicle or
tied around a tree to symbolize "vibrancy, tenacity and
commitment to justice".