Western envoys urge peace and dialogue amid Kenya unrest
A group of eight Western countries have issued a joint statement expressing their concern over the recent violence and unrest in Kenya, following consequent anti-government protests that have left two people dead and dozens injured.
The statement, issued by ambassadors and high commissioners from Australia, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, The United Kingdom, and The United States, praised Kenya’s reputation as an anchor of stability, security and democracy in Africa and beyond.
They also recalled the successful conduct of the general elections in 2022, and the unanimous confirmation of their results by the Supreme Court.
However, they said they were deeply concerned by the destruction of places of worship and private property, as well as the disruption of economic activity at a time of significant financial challenges.
“We recognise the right to peaceful protest under Kenya’s Constitution. All actors also have a responsibility to adhere to the principles of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. We welcome the commitment by the Inspector General of Police to launch an investigation into recent events, including the destruction of private property,” the statement read in part.
The embassies called on all leaders and all Kenyans to maintain peace, show restraint, and work toward a swift resolution for the common good of Kenya.
The statement came as Kenya entered its second week of protests against rising living costs and alleged electoral fraud.
Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, has called for regular protests every Monday and Thursday.
On Monday, police in Nairobi and Kisumu used tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds, aiming canisters at cars carrying journalists in the capital. Officers also used tear gas and water cannons as Odinga’s convoy passed through a congested Nairobi neighborhood, sending residents fleeing for cover.
The African Union on Tuesday led appeals for calm and political dialogue after the protests turned violent, with police firing tear gas and looters going on a rampage. AU Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat voiced “deep concern” at the violence and appealed for calm.
“The chairperson urges all stakeholders to exercise calm and engage in dialogue to address any differences that may exist in the supreme interest of national unity and reconciliation,” Faki’s office said in a statement.