UN skirts Raila Odinga’s vote analysis call

TUESDAY AUGUST 15 2017 | By Daliy Nation

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Opposition leader Raila Odinga. He lost the Kenyan elections with 44.7 per cent to President Uhuru Kenyatta's 54.2 per cent, according to IEBC. FILE PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A United Nations spokesman on Monday declined to accept Raila Odinga’s request for a UN review of the August 8 election results.

Spokesman Farhan Haq reiterated Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ recent statement urging Kenyan political leaders to bring election-related disputes to “the relevant constitutionally mandated institutions.”

REMARKS

That formulation suggests that the UN is unlikely to carry out the election analysis Mr Odinga proposed in an interview last week with London’s Financial Times.

Mr Haq added at a press briefing that the UN will monitor Mr Odinga’s expected remarks on Tuesday.

The Washington Post meanwhile added its voice to the chorus of commentators hailing the election as free and fair.

“If local and international observers are right,” the Post said in an editorial on Monday, “Kenya has just staged one of the fairest and most transparent elections in its history, as well as in the recent history of Africa.”

The country has nevertheless “been teetering on the brink of crisis,” the newspaper added, “largely because Mr Kenyatta’s opponent, Raila Odinga, refuses to accept the results or even the established legal process for challenging them.”

UHURU

“Instead, Mr Odinga has been leveling charges of fraud without offering any evidence to support them and encouraging his supporters to take to the streets.”

The Post criticised the opposition’s response but also urged President Kenyatta to “stop the excesses of the police as well as the apparent pressure being applied to media and non-governmental organisations.”

“Mr Kenyatta appears to have fairly won a democratic mandate,” The Post declared, warning, however, that “he should not tarnish it with repression.”

Efforts to ensure peace within Kenya and to enhance “its status as an emerging democracy and attraction for foreign investors, will require the government and opposition to act responsibly and with restraint in the coming days,” the Post said.

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