New York, US – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Kenyans to remain peaceful and ensure a credible conclusion of the Kenyan presidential election as they wait for the ballots to be counted, in contrast to the violent outcome of the 2007 polls.
“I have been encouraged by the largely peaceful and orderly process despite some incidents of violence and some technical problems,” Ban said in a statement on Wednesday in New York.
He urged those who cast their votes as well as candidates, political leaders and their supporters, to “maintain the same calm and patience and allow the electoral commission to complete its tallying of the votes. You should also refrain from any pronouncements that could undermine its authority or cause tension.
“A peaceful, credible conclusion to the election is within Kenya’s reach and would be a significant step for Kenyan democracy and stability.”
Millions of voters reportedly went to the polling stations on Monday in the first presidential elections since the 2007 elections when anger over President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election killed more than 1,100 people, injured 3,500 and forcibly displaced up to 600,000.
Ahead of this week’s vote, national and international observers and human rights actors warned of the risk of election violence, including the deliberate targeting of civilians due to political or ethnic affiliations.
PANA also recalled that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, had called on authorities to ensure the protection of civilians, especially women and girls.
She recalled that thousands of cases of rape and other forms of sexual assault were documented five years prior.
Also, the outgoing president, Mwai Kibaki, also appealed for a peaceful vote ahead of the elections, as did the two current presidential rivals - outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.