Norway’s warning to Kenyan leaders

KenyaKenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga dances to music at a rally attended by thousands of supporters in the Shauri Moyo area of Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The head of the election commission said Wednesday that it is "difficult to guarantee a free, fair and credible election" in Kenya's fresh presidential vote only eight days away, just hours after a top Kenyan electoral official resigned saying the election on Oct. 26 cannot be credible as planned. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Norway’s ambassador to Kenya, together with 19 other Western ambassadors, are giving strong criticism to Kenyan leaders and the political divide they are contributing to.


In a statement published Monday, the ambassadors call for politicians to stop verbally attacking the country’s institutions, and instead of stirring more turmoil, gather so that a credible election can be held in the country.

The statement also condemns the opposition’s attack on members of the nomination committee (IEBC).

– Attacks on staff in the IEBC must cease. Nobody is required to vote nor to vote if they do not want to, but no one should use violence and harassment to threaten the right of others to vote or attend.

“To do that is deeply undemocratic, and leaders must tell their supporters that they must refrain from such actions,” said the US Ambassador Robert Godec, who read the statement, Thursday.

First cheers – then boycott
It was announced only three days that there was a plan to hold a new election in Kenya, since the result of the previous elections were annulled by the Supreme Court.

It was celebrated as a major victory of the opposition and presidential candidate Raila Odinga, but recently Odinga decided to boycott the election because he has no confidence that the election would be free and fair.

On election day, he has asked his followers to demonstrate and he has also posted on Twitter that there will be security outside the election commission’s offices on Tuesday and Wednesday.

– Odinga should participate
According to Godec, the community has attempted to get Odinga to participate in the election after the election commission had made several important changes to election procedures, although not all of the opposition requirements have been met.

In addition to US and Norway’s support, it is supported by EU, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Australia. .

Godec also says that if the electoral commission does not feel its ready to arrange the election, it should ask the courts for a postponement.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today