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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Guterres, Annan urge NASA to seek legal redress over poll results

NASA Coalition principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi during a press conference on IEBC's preparedness to hold the just concluded general elections at Capital Hill on March 2, 2017. /Jack Owuor
NASA Coalition principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi during a press conference on IEBC's preparedness to hold the just concluded general elections at Capital Hill on March 2, 2017. /Jack Owuor

UN Secretary General António Guterres and former UN chief Koffi Annan have urged the defeated NASA coalition to seek legal redress over their grievances on the presidential election results.

In separate statements, the duo congratulated Kenyans for their peaceful participation in the August 8 elections and called on NASA principals to urge their supporters to refrain from post-poll violence.

Guterres spoke through his spokesman Stephane Dujarric in a statement posted on the UN website on Saturday.

"The Secretary-General calls on the political leaders to send clear messages to their supporters urging them to refrain from violence," read part of the statement.

The UN chief emphasized the need for dialogue between the winners and the losers to defuse tensions that had led to violent protests.

His plea came after the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said on Saturday up to 24 people had been killed in confrontations between the police and opposition supporters.

Supporters of NASA leader Raila Odinga, who disputes President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election, took to the streets on Friday night to protest the election outcome.

The demonstrators continued engaging police mainly in NASA strongholds in parts of Nairobi and Nyanza for the better part of Saturday.

Read: Amnesty International alarmed by post-poll killings

Guterres said the UN was engaging various stakeholders with the view to speedily bring the situation under control.

“The United Nations, in close collaboration with the African Union and other multilateral and bilateral partners, is fully engaged with Kenya’s political leadership and relevant stakeholders to facilitate the successful conclusion of the electoral process,” Guterres said.

Annan, who was the chief mediator during Kenya’s 2007/2008 post election stalemate, congratulated President Kenyatta on his re-election and commended him for reaching out to Raila for the sake of peace.

He urged the opposition chief to use the relevant legal channels to address his concerns over the election results.

“I commend the leader of the Opposition, Raila Odinga for the peaceful electoral campaign that he led. He has been a courageous defender of democracy.

“So I urge him now to pursue his concerns over the electoral outcome through the due process of law and to put the interest of the nation first, as he has patriotically done on past occasions,” Annan said.

NASA has however ruled out the court option over their grievances.

Annan comforted with families that have lost their loved ones as a result of the ongoing demonstrations saying (I) “sincerely hope there will be no more”.

The ex-UN chief who currently chairs the Kofi Annan Foundation also called on politicians in the country to exercise caution and desist from making utterances that might fuel animosity between dissenting factions.

“Peace, stability and prosperity depend on the political leaders of Kenya. They should be careful with their rhetoric and actions in this tense atmosphere and I urge them to act responsibly,” Annan said.

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