Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec

As a long-time friend, the United States continues to follow closely Kenya’s presidential election process.  We welcome the decision by Kenya’s opposition alliance, NASA, to go to the Supreme Court with its concerns regarding the results of the presidential poll.  The Supreme Court is the constitutional venue to address disputes.  We look forward to the court resolving the questions NASA has raised in accordance with the rule of law and in the light of the evidence.

Kenya’s Constitution gives all citizens the right to protest peacefully, which should be respected by security services.  We were deeply troubled by the reports of deaths and injuries that followed the IEBC’s August 11 announcement of the election results.  We urge security services to avoid using excessive force and to protect lives and property.  It is important that organizations such as the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) investigate any allegations of misconduct and that those responsible for abuses be held accountable.  Protesters also have a responsibility to remain peaceful and respect the law.

A free and open civil society and media are vital to democracy.  Civil society organizations should be permitted to operate without the threat of deregistration, and journalists should be protected from attacks and harassment.  In this regard, we were deeply disturbed by the actions of the NGO Coordination Board against civil society groups.  We welcome the decision by the Government of Kenya to reverse this action and urge that the reversal be fully implemented immediately.

Kenya has made impressive progress under its 2010 Constitution, but serious divides and challenges remain.  We welcome the call by President Kenyatta and many Kenyan leaders for national unity.  All Kenyans have the responsibility to work to bring their country together – and all Kenyans have the responsibility to reject violence and embrace the rule of law.  We are committed to continuing to strengthen our partnership as Kenyans move forward in building their great country.