Seth Onyango @SethManex
Foreign diplomatic missions have told the National Super Alliance (Nasa) to accept President Uhuru Kenyatta as the validly elected Head of State. In a strongly-worded statement endorsed by 11 embassies in Kenya, the missions told Opposition chief Raila Odinga to recognise President Kenyatta’s second term mandate.
“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 ought,” read the statement in part.
“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,” it added. But Odinga immediately hit out at the envoys accusing them of being hypocrites.
He claimed the envoys supported an “illegitimate regime.” “We want to tell them in clear terms that Kenya is an independent state, that is capable of solving its internal problems. They are not interested in democracy but extend neo-colonialism through business deals so that they can continue stealing our resources,” he said at Southlands, Lang’ata in Nairobi where he visited survivors of a fire that gutted a slum settlement.
The diplomats, however, did not spare the government too and took a swipe at various institutions and individuals for failing to comply with court orders. “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.
Additionally, they urged the government to protect freedom of expression, the media and all civil rights. “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,” they said. The envoys warned the Opposition against threatening violence or engaging in extra-constitutional measures to seize power.
The diplomats’ statement adds to the growing voices, both locally and internationally, urging the Opposition to accept the October 26 presidential poll and move on. It comes even as the Opposition has vowed not relent its quest for what it terms as “electoral justice”.
The statement was signed by foreign missions including the Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom, Netherlands and France, Finland, Norway and Denmark. At the same time, they criticised the government for the crackdown on Opposition individuals and the shutdown of television stations following Raila’s controversial swearing-in.
“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.
These events follow two elections that left many Kenyans dead and many more livelihoods disrupted,” they said. They have now called for dialogue to resolve the current political situation.
“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,” the diplomats urged.
“A free media and civil society keep the public informed and facilitate dialogue, and that dialogue improves the policies and programmes that leaders deliver to their citizens,” they added.