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March 21, 2018

Rushing laws bad for Kenya, Raila's pullout regrettable - UK

NASA leader Raila Odinga during his meeting with UK Minister of State for Africa Rory Stewart at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, UK, October 12, 2017. /RAILA ODINGA/TWITTER
NASA leader Raila Odinga during his meeting with UK Minister of State for Africa Rory Stewart at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, UK, October 12, 2017. /RAILA ODINGA/TWITTER

The British government has raised concerns about the rush to amend election laws just few days to the repeat presidential election set for October 26.

Through Minister for Africa Rory Stewart, the UK government said  on Friday that the rushed legislative changes are adding to the tension in the country.

NASA supporters have been holding weekly demonstrations to push for reforms at IEBC and oppose the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

Acting Interior CS Fred Matiang'i banned the protests in the CBDs of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa, saying the threat to the government is growing.

More on this: Matiang'i bans demos in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa CBDs after NASA threats

Stewart issued his remarks after meeting Foreign Affairs PS Monica Juma and NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

In his discussion with Juma, Stewart noted UK supports a free, fair and peaceful election in Kenya.

"UK is a strong supporter of Kenya's constitution and institutions. It is important for all Kenyans that elections take place in line with the Supreme Court decision of September 1."

His statement also said political players should work together so all Kenyans benefit.

In a separate session with NASA chief Raila, Stewart said it is regrettable that he withdrew from the race.

"I emphasised my regret to [Raila] over his decision to withdraw from elections...and urged the former Prime Minister to work with others to ensure democratic elections happen as per the constitution."

Raila traveled to London on Wednesday night and is scheduled to meet high profile personalities in the UK, US and Europe.

On Thursday, he met Archbishop Justin Welby before before giving a lecture at Chatham house.

Read: Raila meets Archbishop Welby, lectures at Chatham

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to sign the contentious election laws after the Senate adopted a Bill forwarded by the National Assembly on Wednesday.

A Thursday afternoon session dominated by Jubilee members voted to pass Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

This was despite pressure by NASA, clerics, European Union observers and Western diplomats for President Uhuru Kenyatta's party to drop the changes.

Groups opposed to the proposed election laws termed Jubilee's move suspicious and aimed at derailing justice.

They also noted the changes just days to the expected October 26 election are against international standards.

Jubilee leaders, however, ignored the call to drop the changes and insisted it was the appropriate time to implement the amendments.

More on this: Senators pass election laws, Uhuru to sign before weekend

Also read: IEBC gazettes results transmission path as Senate passes Election Bill


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