TO AVERT ANARCHY IN KENYA
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As Kenyan Americans under the banner of a lobby group called Kenya Patriotic Movement (KEPAM) (www.kepam254.org we are a worried lot about the tension that is piling up in our mother country following the annulment of a Presidential election held on August 8th.
The ghosts of the post-election violence of 2007/2008 are fresh in our memories.
A repeat of the same will completely undermine Kenya’s peace, ruin investor confidence, hurt the tourism sector and even endanger the wellbeing of the diplomatic community in the country. Remember, Kenya is home to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as well as the United Nations centre for human settlement (Habitat). This makes the country the only developing country with a high caliber UN office.
We’re therefore appealing to the US government through Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to put pressure on the Kenyan government and the country’s electoral body (IEBC) to agree and implement minimum reforms before a repeat Presidential election is held. This is the surest way to ensure that the exercise is free, fair and credible.
A stolen election catalyzed massive violence in 2007/2008 which made Kenyans kill each other. The same is likely to happen again if contingency measures are not put in place to avert it.
The Supreme Court annulled the Presidential election on September 1st where it cited massive irregularities and illegalities. The faction of the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta is beating war drums by accusing the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of the opposition leader Raila Odinga. The political 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.
Note that, the country is currently polarized. Politicians from the ruling side and opposition side are all charged up. Tension is high especially in urban centres.
The current Kenyan government is afraid of reforms since it could have been a beneficiary of the bungled election annulled on September 1st. The electoral body is coerced by the incumbent to let the status quo remain. Regular citizens are afraid.
The diplomats fear for their safety. Foreign investors are ambivalent to pursue or increase investment in Kenya. Also, Kenya boarders the volatile Somalia region, which is home to Al-Shabaab terrorist group who may take advantage of the current tension in the country to carry out their evil mission like they have done before.
We believe the USA is our big brother in terms of strengthening democratic institutions, advancing Peace and Security and supporting economic development in Kenya. Anything that jeopardizes the rule of law, social justice, peace and tranquility will affect these. In fact, if Kenya is hurt it may affect the US and the larger international community.
KEPAM is designed to bring together Kenyans at home and in the Diaspora in the pursuit for social justice, civic awareness and engagements, fairness in the electoral processes, equity and equality and advocacy for accountable and transparency governance practices. The lobby is registered in New Jersey and has close partnership with KEPAM Nairobi.
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