Kenyan Americans under the banner of a lobby group called Kenya Patriotic Movement (Kepam), worried about the tension piling up in in the country following the annulment of the presidential election held on August 8, have appealed to the US government to put pressure on the Kenyan government and the country’s electoral body (IEBC) to agree and implement minimum reforms before a repeat election is held. This, they say, is the surest way to ensure that the exercise is free, fair and credible.
Fearing a repeat of the post-election violence of 2007/2008, which would undermine Kenya’s peace, ruin investor confidence, hurt the tourism sector and even endanger the wellbeing of the diplomatic community in the country, they are appealing to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to move with speed and save the country certain chaos.
“A stolen election catalysed massive violence in 2007/2008. The same is likely to happen again if contingency measures are not put in place to avert it,” they say in their petition to Tillerson.
The Supreme Court annulled the Presidential election on September 1 where it cited massive irregularities and illegalities. The faction allied to the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, is beating war drums by accusing the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of the opposition leader Raila Odinga. The Opposition which won the court petition for the election annulment wants minimum electoral reforms so that there will be a level playing field in the Presidential contest.
According to Kepam, the current government is afraid of reforms since it could have been a beneficiary of the bungled election annulled on September 1. The electoral body, they say, has been coerced to let the status quo remain, which means another election could be a sham as well.
Meanwhile, both the National Assembly and the Senate have initiated parallel sittings to debate and approve amendments to the Election Act that many see as an attempt to muzzle a credible poll. Opposition legislators have roundly criticised the proposed amendments and vowed to do everything in their power – which is little, really – to see that the proposed changes do not pass. ^