17 May 2016

Kenya: Elders Concerned Over Anti-IEBC Protests, Call for Dialogue

Photo: Deutsche Welle
Policemen beats a protester during clashes in Nairobi on May 16, 2016.

The National Council of Elders says the demonstrations against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are affecting the country's security and economy and have called for dialogue between the government and the Opposition.

The council representing the Somali, Meru, Borana and Turkana communities has asked elders from all 47 counties to spearhead cohesion.

The elders were speaking Tuesday at Al-Falah Islamic Centre in Isiolo on the opposition-led protests against the electoral body.

Chairman Phares Rutere expressed concerns that the protests were raising 'unwanted' political temperatures in the country.

The elders also condemned the excessive force used by police during Monday's protest saying it will not solve the raging debate and demonstrations.

Mr Rutere, who is also the Njuri Ncheke Secretary-General, said the government and the Opposition should hasten dialogue to tone down the rising political atmosphere in the country that was seriously affecting the economy.


He noted that the protestors were mugging and destroying properties of innocent Kenyans.

The elders called on protestors to conduct peaceful and non-destructive demonstrations instead of engaging in looting and hooliganism.

Mr Rutere said the elders were ready to bring both the government and the opposition together to resolve the stalemate.

"As elders, we cannot watch the economy of the country sink.

"Business people have been forced to shut down their premises during protests for fear of looting.

"Some are also counting losses since their properties have been destroyed by protestors," said the council's chairman.

The elders urged the government block "criminals" from vying for political seats in the next general elections.

"We want the cleanest people to vie in 2017. Those convicted of fraud or dismissed from service should not be allowed to contest," said Mr Rutere.

The council's secretary Ahmed Set said a clear solution should be reached to ensure that the country has free, fair and peaceful elections in 2017.

"We do not want to shed blood in our country like what we went through in 2007," added Mr Set.

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