– United States and several other foreign nations have raised concerns over shrinking democratic space in Kenya
– Government and opposition have both been put on the spot on in light of recent political developments that have threatened to erode Kenya's democratic gains
– The foreign envoys have urged the government to operate within the law, the Constitution and have respect for its institutions
– They have also called on the opposition leaders to respected the law, the Constitution and accept the Supreme Court decision that upheld President Uhuru Kenyatta's election victory
The United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and several other foreign nations have raised concerns over the shrinking democratic space in Kenya following the disputed 2017 polls.
In a joint press statement seen by TUKO.co.ke on Monday, February 12, the foreign envoys put both the Jubilee government and NASA coalition on the spot in light of the recent political developments that they fear could erode Kenya's democratic gains.
"We are concerned not because we presume to dictate how Kenyans should regulate their affairs, but as fellow democracies. We know our freedoms and rights were hard won, and how carefully we must cherish and protect them if our nations are to prosper," the statement read in part.
The statement, signed off by US Ambassador Robert Godec, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom (UK) Nic Hailey and others, urged the government to operate within the law and the Constitution and to respect its institutions.
The envoys pointed to the prolonged TV shutdown, disregard of court orders, seizing passports of opposition leaders, and deportation of a senior opposition lawyer as some of the incidents that put the government in bad light.
The envoys also once again called on opposition leaders to accept the Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Uhuru Kenyatta's election victory on October 26, 2017.
"A father of multi-party democracy has made unsubstantiated claims about elections and unilaterally sworn himself as “President” in deliberate disregard of the Constitution for which he so proudly fought," the statement read in apparent reference to NASA leader Raila Odinga.
They equally urged the NASA chiefs to also respect the law, the Constitution and government institutions.
The statement further noted that for democracy to succeed, the government must treat all citizens equally and fairly – even those who disagree with its decisions, the opposition should keep the government in check, and the media must be allowed to play its role.
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