14 February 2018

Kenya: Commonwealth Monitoring Kenya Political Deadlock

Nairobi — THE Commonwealth has warned Kenya's opposition against its insistence of recognising longtime presidential aspirant, Raila Odinga, as the so-called people's president.

Kenya's political deadlock follows controversial elections held twice last year.

Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, denounced the purported swearing in of Odinga on January 30 as an attempt to undermine the rule of law.

Scotland reminded the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) the rule of law remained a fundamental value of the Commonwealth Charter and was also safeguarded by Kenya's constitution.

She said the Commonwealth, an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of Britain, continued to "monitor" developments in the East African nation that is reeling from the tension-plagued poll that retained Uhuru Kenyatta as president.

He defeated Odinga in August before the courts annulled the outcome citing irregularities.

Odinga boycotted fresh polls in October alleging impartiality of electoral authorities.

To resolve the ensuing tensions, Scotland urged the government, opposition, media, civil society, citizens and all stakeholders to place the national interest and commitment to Commonwealth values and principles above party affiliation.

"All must engage in peaceful dialogue that will move Kenya forward in ways that are compatible with the constitution," she said.

Scotland welcomed the decision by government to restore transmission rights to some television stations that had been shut down for screening the mock inauguration in the capital Nairobi.

Odinga earlier this week scoffed at advice by Western diplomats in Kenya to recognise Kenyatta as president.


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