UN, AU chiefs call for peaceful repeat polls in Kenya

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NAIROBI, Oct. 23 – The United Nations and Africa Union on Monday called for peaceful repeat elections in Kenya and urged political leaders to refrain from acts of violence.

In a joint statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat also called on all stakeholders to work closely with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure credible polls on Oct. 26.

“It is critical that all concerned work towards the preservation of calm and peace in the country,” they said ahead of the repeat poll, which has been boycotted by Kenya’s main opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The plea comes amid the poll standoff between the ruling Jubilee led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the opposition coalition the National Super Alliance (NASA) after Odinga withdrew from the repeat polls, accusing the IEBC for failing to implement reforms requested by the coalition.

Odinga argued that the mistakes that brought about the annulment of the Aug. 8 vote was most likely to be repeated as reforms have not been taken at the electoral body, including the resignations of staffers who they accuse of bungling the original elections.

The opposition leader has since urged the IEBC to postpone the poll in light of the ongoing political turmoil and disagreements among the stakeholders, while calling on his supporters to boycott the repeat elections.

Guterres and Mahamat expressed the UN’s and AU’s commitment to assist Kenya in ensuring a credible and transparent process and upholding the constitutional process.

They stressed the need for the security services to exercise restraint, use minimal force in performing their duties and respect the freedom and political liberties of all Kenyans.

After the Aug. 8 election, Odinga contested the outcome, claiming that election officials had rigged the vote in favor of Kenyatta.

The Supreme Court on Sept. 1 annulled results in a verdict that sent shock waves to many and reverberated across the world.

(Copyright National News Agency / Xinhua, 2017)

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