By Khalifa Hemed
Published August 5, 2017
Kenyans should come together to ensure free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections to strengthen democracy and advance prosperity for all in East Africa’s largest economy.
Heads of Foreign Mission in Kenya, in a joint statement issued in Nairobi on August 4, describe Kenya’s General Elections on August 8 as “an opportunity for Kenya to build a remarkable future, inspire Africa, expand freedom, and strengthen national unity.”
Saying “democracy is the best form of government,” the envoys say “successful elections require everyone from all parts of society to work together.”
The diplomats call upon politicians to “reject violence and hate speech” and to urge their followers to do likewise. Moreover, they appeal to candidates running for office–whether they win or lose–to be “prepared to welcome the decision of the people with grace and humility” besides respecting judicial independence and being “prepared to resolve any disputes over the polls peacefully through the courts and not violently in the streets.”
Saying “Effective democracies depend not just on government agencies, but also on a free media and an active civil society,” the ambassadors say it is important for the media to “have the freedom to carry out their roles of informing the public, promoting transparency, and debunking and rejecting false or inflammatory reports.”
The envoys from the European Union, United States of America,Sweden, Italy, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Norway, Holland, Finland, Canada,Australia, Romania, Ireland, Portugal, Belgium and the United Kingdom say they “do not support any particular candidate or party” but “support the democratic process and Kenyans’ right to choose their representatives and their future.”