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Obasanjo, African leaders canvass peaceful presidential rerun in Kenya


Six former African presidents, including Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo, have urged the international community as well as local actors to help ensure that the coming presidential rerun election in Kenya is peaceful and credible.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IBEC, had returned incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta winner of the first poll held on August 8, before the country’s Supreme Court annulled the election in September, a first in Africa’s democratic experience.

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The annulment followed a petition by Mr. Kenyatta’s main challenger, Raila Odinga.

The Supreme Court nullified the election on the grounds of “illegalities and irregularities” and ordered a rerun within 60 days.

The rerun will hold on October 17.

“We call on global democrats and friends of our common humanity not to rest on their oars until both leaders accede to tread on the path of peace and good conscience and to follow the narrow but moral path to govern Kenyans,” said the leaders in a statement obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday.

Apart from Mr. Obasanjo, other former presidents that signed the statement were Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, Festus Mogae of Botswana, John Kufuor of Ghana; Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa, and Mohamed Marzouk of Tunisia.

They stated further: “It is imperative that the next election should be seen as free, fair, credible and reflecting the wish and desire of Kenyan people in all aspects.

“We also plead that all eyes should be on the IEBC, with all assistance possible, towards an orderly polling and a credible one that ensures that technology is not manipulated to benefit either candidate.

“In this respect, we call on international organisations to which Kenya belongs and especially the UN, AU, EAC, Commonwealth and IGAD to assist in bolstering the sovereignty of the people of Kenya so that what IEBC will transmit in the repeated Presidential Election is transparently the wish of the people of Kenya.

“Peace and justice must patently go together and thereby avoid blood-letting in Kenya as a result of elections. People of Kenya must live in peace, security and harmony after the elections,” they added.

Before the civil resolution of the dispute arising from the August 8 election, Kenya had gained notoriety for post-election violence, with widespread bloody fights that followed the 2008 elections.

Even so, the 2017 elections did not go without human losses, after Mr. Odinga alleged irregularities.

The former leaders added that, “Anybody conversant with the realities on the ground in Kenya would be concerned, hence the need to call for peace in the build-up to the repetition of the Presidential Elections in less than 60 days and immediately after.

“The travails and trials experienced in watering the soil of democracy should not always be with the blood of the people of Kenya.”

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