Kenyans collectively express their hopes, fears and dreams every five years through elections. However, politicians in Kenya used vitriolic rhetoric to exploit ethnic divisions in order to get elected. As you take office, your actions going forward will shape Kenya’s future and determine your legacy.
Mr President, Kenyans entrust you to prioritize their interests and welfare, regardless of political affiliations and ethnic backgrounds. They expect you to “respect, uphold and safeguard the Constitution; to promote and enhance the unity of the nation; to promote respect for the diversity of the people and communities of Kenya; ensure the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and uphold the rule of law.”
A nation’s strength lies in its people’s ability to express their views and aspirations without fear. But despite freedom of assembly and expression being cornerstones of the Kenyan Constitution, the recent elections have seen a wave of violence. The police response to protesting crowds and public gathering was marked by excessive and unlawful force including the use of live ammunition, leading to multiple deaths and injuries.
Since the 1 September historic Supreme Court’s ruling, nullifying the 8 August presidential elections, high ranking members of the Jubilee Party have publicly attacked members of the judiciary.
Even before the elections, the electoral commission suffered a credibility deficit. The judiciary reversed the procurement of the ballot papers, and some of the commissioners and members of the secretariat were accused of favouring one side of the political divide.
The people of Kenya deserve state institutions – the police, the courts, and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) – that protect and respect the rights of all Kenyans.
Kenyans need a progressive and rights-respecting country. Kenya must progress by safeguarding and advancing the rights of all individuals.