(24 September 2017) The IGAD Election Observer Mission to the 8th August 2017 Kenyan elections issued its interim report on the 9th of August 2017 in which it concluded, based on its observations, that “the general elections were conducted in a peaceful, orderly and transparent manner and in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Kenya”. The IGAD mission has had no reason to review this assessment and will in due course issue its final report which will provide details anchoring the positive rating of the Kenyan elections. The IGAD Secretariat is aware of the subsequent invalidation of the elections by the Supreme Court of Kenya. IGAD Congratulates the people of Kenya for resolving electoral disputes in the mode provided for by the Kenyan Constitution. We thank the people of Kenya for the calm manner in which the decision has been equally celebrated and criticized, exhibiting the growth and maturity of democracy in Kenya. IGAD, whose mandate includes the promotion of democracy, good governance and the rule of law, celebrates this adherence to the constitution and constitutionalism in Kenya.
The Fresh Presidential Elections scheduled by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for 26th October 2017, in line with the requirement by the Kenyan constitution that Fresh Presidential Elections be held within 60 days, provide another opportunity for the people of Kenya to show their commitment to their constitution. IGAD has every confidence that the will of the people will again be expressed clearly in the ballot, and that Kenyans will elect their leaders in the constitutionally mandated manner on the 26th October 2017.
IGAD is however concerned by statements and actions from some quarters regarding the Fresh Presidential Elections. Statements and actions that undermine the people’s confidence in the ability of the IEBC to manage the fresh elections, as well as unrealistic demands that frustrate IEBC from conducting fresh elections, or indeed calls to boycott the Fresh Presidential Elections, put Kenya on a dangerous path. Whereas, as the Supreme Court determined, IEBC has to make certain critical administrative adjustments and correct certain errors that became evident on the 8th of August 2017.
IGAD, based on its prior assessment, is confident that IEBC can execute its constitutional mandate to facilitate the expression by the Kenyan people of their sovereignty. IEBC must thus not be crippled from executing this mandate. Sabotaging IEBC or boycotting the elections will put Kenya in a constitutional crisis and likely on a path to Unconstitutional Change of Government.
IGAD is bound by Article 4 of the AU constitutive Act which condemns Unconstitutional Change of Government as a challenge to the growth of democracy in the region and therefore unacceptable in all circumstances. In line with the position by the African Union, IGAD holds that Unconstitutional Change of Government does not only include military coup d’état; use of mercenaries, rebels or armed dissidents against democratically elected governments; or the refusal by an incumbent government to relinquish power to the winning party after free, fair and periodic elections, but also includes use of violence to undermine constitutionalism and political interference with the constitutional order of a state in order to imperil democratic change of government.
IGAD urges all actors in Kenya to reject those who would seek to interfere with the constitutional order by seeking to disrupt or prevent the court-mandated fresh election, thus putting in peril democratic change of government and ushering in a crisis from which unscrupulous actors can seek Undemocratic Change of Government.
IGAD will keep a close eye on developments to inform all its member states and the African Union. IGAD urges and appeals to the people of Kenya, including political parties and their leadership, plus all constitutional institutions, to jealously safeguard and protect the mode of transfer of power provided for in the constitution of Kenya, and to avoid all statements, provocations and acts that could lead to Unconstitutional Change of Government. At all times, actors in the political, judicial and legislative space should be guided by the Constitution and its underlying commitment to the will of the Kenyan people as expressed in a free and fair election. IGAD is ready to walk with Kenya, shoulder to shoulder, navigating all challenges, as we match towards a peaceful, secure and prosperous IGAD region.
Amb(Eng.) Mahboub M. Maalim, OGW, EBS. Executive Secretary