Pressure mounts on the National Super Alliance (NASA) Chief Raila Odinga to first recognize President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto as the legitimately elected leaders as a starting point for dialogue to end the political turmoil in the country. The foreign envoys from eleven western countries in a joint statement, termed the ‘swearing in’ of Odinga as the ‘People’s President’ a violation of the Constitution, despite criticizing actions taken by the government in the aftermath of the controversial ‘inauguration’ ceremony.
“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. The Opposition must accept the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the election of October 26. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are the legitimate President and Deputy President of Kenya. 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.” part of the statement read.
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Additionally the diplomats condemned the government for shutting down media stations as well as arresting NASA legislators. “The Government, which should be the guarantor of liberty and freedom of expression for all under the law, shut down television stations, seized the passports of Opposition leaders, refused to obey court orders, and deported a prominent Opposition lawyer. These events follow two elections that left many Kenyans dead and many more livelihoods disrupted. For friends of Kenya, alarm bells are ringing,” they added.
The diplomats including US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec and UK’s Nic Hailey reiterated their call for dialogue saying it was the only way to put the country back on the path to democracy, prosperity, and security. “As partners, we will do all we can to help; but only Kenyans can resolve the country’s problems. 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,” they said.
Consequently, they urged the government to protect democratic institutions and respect to the Constitution and the rule of law always, insisting the importance to comply fully with court orders as well as protect the freedom of expression, freedom of the media, and all civil rights.
Meanwhile other envoys included in the statement were Ambassador of Germany Jutta Frasch, the High Commissioner for Australia Alison Chartres, Sara Hradecky of Canada, Mette Knudsen of Denmark, Anna Jardfelt of Sweden, Victor Conrad Rønneberg of Norway, Frans Makken from Netherlands, Tarja Fernández (Finland) and Kim Ramoneda (France).