Kenya Election 2017: CHRI congratulates President-elect, calls on all parties to peacefully resolve disputes, police to use restraint

New Delhi,

Aug 16, 2017

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) commends Kenya on the successful conclusion of the 2017 General Elections, recognised by international observers as free and fair, despite incidents of violence in which 24 persons were killed.

Congratulating President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta on winning a second term to office, CHRI calls upon him to respect, uphold and safeguard the Constitution, one of the most progressive in the Commonwealth.

The election, held on August 8, 2017, saw Kenyans elect the President, county governors, county members of the Senate, county women representatives, members of parliament, and members of county assemblies. A progressive move was allowing prisoners to vote for the first time in the elections.

CHRI urges the President-elect to create an environment conducive for a constructive engagement with opposition parties on issues such as arrangements of fair power-sharing with minority communities, the independence of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and preventing post-electoral violence. 

In the light of reports that politicians defeated in the polls have refused to accept the results of the elections, CHRI exhorts all parties that feel aggrieved to resolve disputes peacefully and in accordance with the Constitution and electoral laws.

“We believe that the Kenyan government will respect the rights and opinions of all parties and uphold the rule of law, in accordance with its international obligations,” said Sanjoy Hazarika, Director of CHRI.

Furthermore, as reports of clashes between the police and protesters emerge, we emphasise that the National Police Service (NPS) must abide by the NPS Act, 2011 that lays out rules and regulations pertaining to the use of lethal force, especially. This must be used with abundant caution and only after all non-lethal means of containing disorder have been exhausted.

A peaceful transition is the key to ensuring the sustenance of democratic values and good governance. CHRI urges the government to continue its engagement with the Commonwealth Observer Group, under the chairmanship of the former President of Ghana, John Mahama. 

Kenya, a Commonwealth member, has endorsed the Commonwealth Charter and its subsidiary principles, which promote ideals of democracy and human rights.