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May 5, 2022

OpEd: The Importance of Free, Fair, and Peaceful Elections in Kenya

The Importance of Free, Fair, and Peaceful Elections in Kenya

By Eric W. Kneedler, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Embassy of the United States of America


As Kenya recently conducted political party nominations, I was reminded of the great power and responsibility people fortunate to live in democracies wield.  It is the power to determine the destiny of a nation and the responsibility to do so peacefully through the ballot box.  Having spent over four years in this beautiful country, I know Kenya’s future is limitless and anchored in a commitment to freedom, democracy, and respect for the rule of law.  I have witnessed Kenya live up to that commitment as it serves on the UN Security Council and promotes peace in the region and around the world.  I have also seen this commitment in action during President Biden’s Summit for Democracy, where Kenya pledged to fight against authoritarianism and corruption and to defend the individual freedoms our democracies seek to protect.


As a long-standing friend of the Kenyan people, the United States is committed to walking with Kenya on its democratic journey.  The next phase of this journey begins with free, fair, and peaceful elections.  The United States does not have preferred candidates or take sides, but we do have an abiding interest in supporting the democratic process and the constitutional right of all eligible Kenyans to vote.  To support this goal, we are investing in Kenyan-led programs to improve electoral accountability and transparency, enhance civic education, protect human rights, and promote peace.  As President Biden has said, preserving and strengthening democracy is “the defining challenge of our time,” and the United States is committed to working with like-minded partners to revitalize democracy around the world.


Regardless of what Kenyan voters decide on August 9, the United States looks forward to finding ways to deepen our strategic partnership with the Kenyan people across the board, including our economic relationship for the mutual benefit of both countries.  We will continue to strengthen our joint fight against extremism and terrorism.  We will also maintain investments in education, agriculture, environmental protection, and public health programs to save lives and help Kenya achieve self-reliance.  We know that to go far in our journey to greater peace and prosperity, we must walk together.


Kenya has achieved significant democratic progress since independence, and the world will be watching eagerly as Kenyans showcase the strength of their democracy on Election Day.  A peaceful election that reflects the will of the Kenyan people will further cement Kenya’s role as a cornerstone of democracy.  Likewise, a peaceful transition of power will enable Kenya to reach new heights as a regional and global leader as we seek to address the challenges of our time together.