13 August 2017

Kenya: Britain Commends President Kenyatta On Re-Election, Urges Restraint

Photo: The East African
President Uhuru Kenyatta

Nairobi — The United Kingdom has congratulated President Uhuru Kenyatta on his re-election following the August 8 General Election.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson commended Kenyans for turning out in large numbers to cast their votes and for keeping peace throughout the voting process.

"Tuesday was a historic day for Kenya, with millions of Kenyans turning out to vote in the General Election. The United Kingdom warmly congratulates President Kenyatta on his re-election," Johnson's press office quoted him as saying.

In his remarks on Saturday, Johnson further assured that Britain will continue working closely with Kenya which he described as a longstanding friend and ally.

"We look forward to building on our strong relationship, working together to advance our shared prosperity and security and to support Kenya's development, for the benefit of all," the chief diplomat said.

"We commend the people of Kenya for their commitment to democracy and salute those who worked tirelessly and courageously towards holding credible elections, often in difficult circumstances," he added.

Secretary Johnson urged Kenyans to maintain peace and work together in nation building while underscoring the importance of unity in building a prosperous nation.

"In the spirit of President Kenyatta's words on Friday now is the time for Kenyans to work together in peace to build their nation and forge their shared future."

He however expressed sympathy over deaths related to pockets of demonstrations in some parts of the country, even as a report released by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) indicated that some 24 people had lost their lives between August 8 and 12.

"We join the Kenyan people in mourning those who have died, calling on those with influence to exercise restraint at this difficult time to ensure calm, and to honour the Kenyans who turned out in such number to vote to determine their future," he urged.

According to the KNCHR report, one person was killed in Kisumu, two in Migori, Siaya and Homa Bay each, and 17 in Nairobi died in circumstances that "can be directly linked to the post-election environment."

Acting Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi however refuted claims that police had killed protesters following the announcement of the presidential election results on Friday affirming that security agencies remained ready to secure peaceful demos.

"Peaceful demonstrations and picketing are protected by the Constitution and our police always act according to the law," he said during a news conference at Harambee House on Saturday adding that anyone who wished to hold a peaceful demonstration would be protected.

"Individuals or gangs that a looting shops, that want to endanger lives, breaking into people's businesses; those are not demonstrators, they're criminals," he asserted accompanied his Cabinet colleague Joe Mucheru (ICT), Inspector General of National Police Service Joseph Boinnet, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Principal Secretaries Karanja Kibicho (Interior) and Ambassador Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs).

Already, African leaders led by Rwanda's Paul Kagame have sent in their congratulatory messages to President Kenyatta on his re-election even as the electoral commission issued a gazette notice on Friday declaring President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto duly elected.

"Congratulations my brother @UKenyatta for a successful election and the trust Kenyans have placed in you!," Kagame tweeted.

Uganda's Yoweri Museveni said he hoped President Kenyatta would continue with the task of promoting unity and development in Kenya.

He said under his leadership, Kenya had continued to be a key regional, economic, peace and security partner.

"I look forward to continuing working with you to strengthen further the brotherly relations and cooperation between our two countries as well as other EAC partner states in our quest to develop our region," Museveni said on Friday.

President John Magufuli of the United Republic on Tanzania also congratulated President Kenyatta on his re-election wishing him success in his second term as president, in an early morning tweet Saturday.

"I congratulate you my brother Uhuru Kenyatta for being elected as president for a second term. I wish you success," he tweeted.

Namibia's Hage Geingob also tweeted a congratulatory message for President Kenyatta's electoral success and his magnanimity in victory by putting Kenya first.

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