Joint Statement on the 2017 Elections in Kenya
Kenyans will go to the polls in 15 months to choose the leaders who will take the country forward over the next five years. With the political competition already underway, now is the time for all Kenyans to consider what steps to take to ensure these elections are free, fair, and peaceful.
In recent months, we have discussed the 2017 elections with a broad spectrum of Kenya’s political, religious, civil society and business leaders, and with representatives of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). In all of our meetings, we have reiterated the crucial importance of public confidence in the electoral system. We have noted the steps the IEBC and other institutions have taken to prepare for the elections and emphasized the actions we believe are necessary to hold a successful poll. We’ve discussed how the international partners can further support these efforts.
Organizing free, fair, and peaceful elections is a “whole of society” effort. Voters must have confidence that institutions such as the IEBC and the judiciary are impartial, efficient, and operate in accordance with the law. Kenya’s politicians and citizens have a responsibility to build trust in the democratic system and to find ways to ensure the electoral and judicial institutions are strong and effective. The IEBC and judiciary must have the resources they need to carry out their responsibilities. Everyone must reject rhetoric or actions that incite violence.
All eligible voters must have the opportunity to vote. We welcome the IEBC’s efforts to register more voters, especially the young, in its campaign between February 15 and March 15, but more needs to be done. All Kenyans must be able to obtain national identity cards from the National Registration Bureau through a process that is timely, fair, and reasonable.
To ensure a credible, peaceful poll in 2017, we call on Kenya’s leaders and citizens to come together through dialogue to build confidence in the electoral system. While the responsibility for doing so rests first with elected and appointed officials, this is a challenge for all Kenyans and everyone should join in good faith. Decisions on questions such as the future of the IEBC’s leadership must be broadly acceptable, achieved through dialogue, and made in accord with Kenya’s constitution and laws.
As partners, we are committed to supporting Kenya in this critical election. Many of us are funding technical assistance, civic education, and conflict mitigation efforts. We will continue to engage with Kenyan leaders, citizens, and organizations across the country in the months ahead.
In the end, however, it is the shared responsibility of the government, the opposition, and the people of Kenya to ensure a free, fair, and peaceful election in 2017. Transcending the country’s political, ethnic, and regional divisions and avoiding the poll-related violence of the past is essential. As friends for more than 50 years, our countries will stand with Kenyans as they seek to build a prosperous, secure, and democratic future.
This statement has been issued by the following Heads of Mission in Kenya:
- Robert F. Godec – Ambassador of the United States to Kenya
- Nic Hailey – High Commissioner for the United Kingdom to Kenya
- Jutta Frasch – Ambassador of Germany to Kenya
- David Angell – High Commissioner for Canada to Kenya
- Ralf Heckner – Ambassador of Switzerland to Kenya
- Johan Borgstam – Ambassador of Sweden to Kenya
- Mette Knudsen – Ambassador of Denmark to Kenya
- Victor C. Ronneberg – Ambassador of Norway to Kenya
- Tarja Fernández – Ambassador of Finland to Kenya
- John Feakes – High Commissioner for Australia to Kenya
- Frans Makken – Ambassador of the Netherlands to Kenya
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