U.S Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, and Chris Coons (D-DE), member of the subcommittee, released the following joint statement ahead of Kenya’s new Presidential election tomorrow.
“The Kenyan Supreme Court’s decision to nullify the result of the August 8 presidential election was an important and historic moment for the independence of Kenya’s judiciary and the resilience of its democracy.
We are deeply troubled by the deterioration of Kenya’s political environment since the Supreme Court’s ruling was handed down. The divisive rhetoric we have heard from politicians has stoked violence and undermined Kenya’s democratic progress. We are also disturbed by the concerns raised by Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati and former Commissioner Roselyn Akombe about the commission’s inability to carry out a credible election.
Anything less than a fully transparent and credible electoral process is a breach of the Kenyan Constitution and an injustice to the Kenyan people. We encourage the parties to commence dialogue on the path forward and urge the IEBC to utilize the upcoming election to begin to rebuild public confidence in the electoral system.
We mourn the dozens of lives lost since the election on August 8. To prevent further loss of life, we strongly urge Kenyan security forces to respect the rights of demonstrators and we call on all candidates to set a strong example of leadership by publicly rejecting violence and pressing their supporters to follow suit.
Building strong democratic institutions is a marathon, not a sprint. Now and after the polls close, we urge Kenyans to continue a national dialogue rather than tearing down the institutions that took so long for Kenyans to build together. The way Kenyans approach this election and handle its outcome will have an impact on the country and region for years to come. We stand with the people of Kenya in their democratic journey and support their demand for a free, fair and credible election.