U.S. and EU condemn Odinga oath, call for respect of law
THE US Department of State and the European Union have slammed Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s January 30 ‘swearing-in’ and the shutdown of television stations.
In separate press statements posted on their websites on Thursday, they emphasised that all leaders and the government should obey the Kenyan Constitution and the rule of law.
The US Department said it rejects “actions that undermine Kenya’s Constitution and the rule of law.”
Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Uhuru Kenyatta was elected president on October 26, 2017 in a repeat poll that was upheld by the Supreme Court.
“Grievances must be resolved through appropriate legal mechanisms,” the statement added.
The European Union, in a statement on its website on Thursday, said respecting the law includes recognising the election of President Kenyatta.
“Kenya’s election year is over, and the challenges laid bare by the electoral process will have to be addressed. All actors should contribute to calm,” the EU statement said.
Nasa boycotted repeat election, saying it first wanted electoral reforms to ensure a free and fair election.
The coalition has maintained that it won the August 8, election and it presented its own alternative results, which the IEBC dismissed.
The EU also said that respecting the law “also means the respect of freedoms of assembly, media and speech and implies lifting any ban on media operating within the law.”
The US Department of State also criticised the government’s shutdown of three television stations and its move to “intimidate and restrict the media.”
“Freedom of expression, including for members of the media, is essential to democracy and is enshrined in Kenya’s Constitution. We urge the government and all Kenyans to respect freedom of expression and implement court orders calling for the restoration of television broadcasts,” it said.
On Tuesday, three television stations – NTV, Citizen and KTN News– were shut down by Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) officers for live airing of the Nasa ‘swearing-in’ ceremony.
The government had last week warned media owners against live broadcast of the event. The television stations were shut off as they broadcast the event.
On Thursday, the High Court ordered that the government restore broadcast.
The US also praised security forces for exercising restraint during the Nasa oath on January 30, 2018.
It urged them to continue to refrain from any unnecessary or excessive use of force, and to also always act within the law.
The US also urged Kenyans to have a “national conversation to build cohesion and address long-standing issues”, while the EU called for unity and said: “The Kenyan people now have the opportunity to take the country forward and work together on their historical path towards democracy and development.”
SOURCE: Daily Nation, Kenya