October 6, 2017
The United States Government is deeply concerned by the deterioration in the political environment in Kenya in advance of the October 26, presidential election. We remain committed to supporting a free, fair, and credible election that is consistent with Kenya’s Constitution, current laws, and institutions, and we do not back any party or candidate.
Unfortunately, in recent weeks actors on all sides have undermined the electoral commission and stoked tensions. We are closely monitoring Kenya’s electoral process and what politicians are saying and doing.
A peaceful and transparent poll that provides all Kenyans a voice in choosing their next President will require that the electoral commission have the independence and support it needs to fulfill its Constitutional and legal obligations. While we support freedom of speech, baseless attacks and unreasonable demands on the electoral commission are divisive. We fully support the commission’s efforts to engage leaders and parties in dialogue, and urge all to participate openly, seriously, and in good faith.
Changing electoral laws without broad agreement just prior to a poll is not consistent with international best practice, increases political tension, and undermines public perceptions of the integrity of the electoral process.
Kenyan leaders and citizens must reject violence and call on others to do the same. Security services should use the utmost restraint in handling demonstrations, and any response must be proportionate and appropriate.
This election offers Kenya the opportunity to inspire and shape the future of Africa. We stand with all Kenyans who seek to advance democracy and prosperity, and strengthen security.