UN, Obama urge peaceful polls in Kenya

Former U.S President, Barack Obama [Photo Credit: indianexpress.com]
Former U.S President, Barack Obama [Photo Credit: indianexpress.com]

Ahead of Tuesday Kenya’s presidential election, the UN and former U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday called for peaceful polls, urging respect for the outcome of the polls.

The UN urged whoever is dissatisfied with the outcome of the polls to use legal channels to address grievances, according to Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary-general.

“We urge the leadership of the various political parties to respect the outcome of the elections and to use the existing legal channels to address grievances.

“We also call for impartial and human-rights compliant conduct of the police and security forces as a cornerstone of peaceful elections,” he said.

Mr. Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, said there has been “too much incitement and appeals based on fear from all sides”.

The former president warned that the Kenyan people “will be the losers if there is a descent into violence.”

“I urge Kenyan leaders to reject violence and incitement; respect the will of the people; urge security forces to act professionally and neutrally; and work together no matter the outcome.

“The choices you make in the coming days can either set Kenya back or bring it together,” Mr. Obama said.

“As a friend of the Kenyan people, I urge you to work for a future defined not by fear and division, but by unity and hope,” Mr. Obama added in a statement.

Tuesday’s election has been predicted as a battle between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta battling to secure a second five-year term and his opponent and long-time rival opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

Mr. Odinga alleged voting irregularities after losing to Mr. Kenyatta in the 2013 election and took his case to the Supreme Court, which ruled in Mr. Kenyatta’s favour by saying the election was valid.

Mr. Odinga was also a candidate in the 2007 election, which was followed by deadly violence fueled by ethnic rivalries.

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is among international observers who will be monitoring the election.



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