from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – UNITED Nations (UN) experts have appealed for peaceful elections in Kenya as the East African country heads for polls on August 9.
The elections are projected to be the most tightly-contested since independence in 1963.
UN experts called on authorities, candidates and political parties to foster an enabling environment for credible polls and prevention of election-related violence.
“Civic space, public participation, fundamental freedoms and a violence-free environment are critical to foster inclusive engagement in the electoral process, and the exercise of political rights,” the experts emphasised.
Reem Alsalem, Elizabeth Broderick, Irene Khan, Mary Lawlor, Ivana Radačić, Diego García-Sayán, Dorothy Estrada Tanck, Meskerem Geset Techane,
Melissa Upreti and Clément Nyaletsossi Voule are the experts.
They noted that political tensions and violence during the campaign period as well as hate speech and incitement by candidates and their supporters had a dangerous potential to ignite or fan violence.
“All those involved in the electoral process must commit themselves to peaceful conduct prior, during and after elections,” the UN experts stated.
Thy dissuaded candidates and political parties to refrain from using inflammatory language which might lead to violence and human rights abuses, particularly against women, persons with disabilities, same-sex individuals or ethnic groups.
Past cycles of Kenyan elections have been marked by violence and human rights violations, including loss of life and sexual and gender-based violence.
The last poll in 2017 was annulled because of vote rigging.
Uhuru Kenyatta was retained as president after winning fresh polls.
He is ineligible for this year’s contest.
His deputy, Wlliam Ruto, and longtime rival, Raila Odinga, are favourites.
Polls in 2017 left an estimated 1 500 people dead amid vote rigging claims as Mwai Kibaki was re-elected.
– CAJ News