Joint Statement by Heads of Mission in Kenya on Kenya’s General Elections

This has been a historic week for Kenya.  As friends of Kenya and as nations who cherish democracy, we have been moved and inspired by the commitment millions of Kenyans have shown to having their voices heard through the ballot box.

We have worked hand in hand with the Kenyan people and with Kenya’s institutions to prepare for free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.  We have been proud to walk alongside you in this important work.

There has always been only one way to run these elections: in line with the Kenyan Constitution and through the institutions mandated by that Constitution.  The IEBC plays the central role.  Its independence and its credibility have been, and remain, critical to the success of these polls.

In addition to the IEBC, the judiciary and many other institutions prepared for these elections and have worked to discharge their responsibilities as they have unfolded.  Protecting their independence, too, is essential.  We urge Kenyans to support them.

No election is perfect, whether in our own countries or in Kenya.  A range of international and domestic observer missions have praised the IEBC for its work in exceptionally challenging circumstances.  We join them in that recognition.

It is now vital that the IEBC be given the space to complete its task and make its final declaration of results, in line with Kenya’s Constitution and with the laws and regulations that govern its work.  No one should short-circuit or curtail this process.  Parties on all sides need to support the IEBC and allow it to finish its job.

If there are then disputes or disagreements, the Kenyan Constitution is very clear on how they are to be addressed.  Violence must never be an option.  No Kenyan should die because of an election.  Kenya’s future is more important than any election.  Leaders above all need to make that clear.

When they stood as candidates, every leader declared their aspiration to hold an office established in Kenya’s Constitution.  Each candidate hoped one day to take an oath of allegiance to that Constitution as the winner of their election.

Now is the time for leaders across the political spectrum to demonstrate their commitment to that Constitution and to the institutions it creates and the values it sets out.  Kenya’s democratic progress has been hard won and must be protected.  Democracy is never easy and is always a work in progress.  It should be cherished and nurtured by every Kenyan, and by leaders above all.