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Carter to Uhuru; Don’t snub the opposition


Aftermath of Supreme Court ruling

John Eche


Hours after the Kenya Supreme Court dismissed objections on the legality of the rerun elections in Kenya, the US-based Carter Center has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to not snub the political opposition but to rather initiate dialogue to heal the cleavages that had broken out in the course of the elections.

The Center, which was one of several missions that had observed the August 8 General Election, on said while the 2017 elections represent a clear setback for democracy, it is incumbent upon political leaders and their supporters to seek common ground.

The centre said President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has a fresh mandate to lead all Kenyans, should reinitiate the national dialogue that culminated in the 2010 Constitution.

While urging Kenyans to accept the unanimous decision of the apex court, the centre also called for restraint, especially from security forces, as they quell demonstrations.

“A renewed dialogue should result in additional measures to address the ethnic and tribal rifts that have long characterised Kenya’s politics, while ensuring the protection and fulfilment of the rights of all Kenyans,” the statement said.

The statement equally added that the government has an obligation to protect the constitutional rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and security and enable inclusive participation in the country’s political dialogue.

“The Carter Center urges all parties to respect today’s unanimous decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to uphold the results of the October 26 fresh presidential election and calls on political leaders to initiate a process of sustained national dialogue to heal the wounds aggravated by the often tense and tumultuous electoral period,” the Center said.

It will be recalled that the Supreme Court dismissed the two petitions challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s October 26 win.

The six judges of the court said they would give a reasoned judgment after 21 days.

Carter Center said the events surrounding the General Election and the repeat election on October 26 undermined the rule of law in Kenya and the country’s democratic institutions.

“The extended electoral period was characterised by strident political rhetoric and harsh attacks by political leaders on Kenya’s judiciary and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and election-related violence that resulted in numerous deaths, injuries, and damage to property,” the statement said.

It added that in resilient democracies, elections are centered on peaceful competition and the orderly transfer of power, not weakening democratic institutions and life-and-death clashes.

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