U.S. warns Americans in Kenya over elections petitions

travel advice

DateLines: Photo Reporting- Kenyan Election ViolenceU.S. warns Americans in Kenya over elections petitions

26 March 2013

NAIROBI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government has warned its citizens living in Kenya over violent reactions that may erupt as a result of a court ruling over the presidential election petitions.



In its latest travel advisory received here on Tuesday, Washington urged all U.S. citizens to avoid gatherings, demonstrations, downtown business areas, slums, and large crowds of any kind.

"Remember even gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn violent with little or no warning. Demonstrations could also lead to traffic congestion and possible road closures," the advisory started.

The advisory also advised Americans to be cautious and monitor local media for the latest information on demonstrations and traffic disruptions, particularly those who plan to spend the holiday away from home.

The presidential elections petition was filed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, civil society organization and some campaign team for president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta.

Odinga who heads the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD) is asking the Supreme Court to set aside the results of the presidential election as announced by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on March 9.

He is also urging the court to declare as null and void the election of Kenyatta as President-elect and William Ruto as Deputy President-elect.

The petition says that the voter register was severally altered as to make it difficult to tell which one was used finally. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the petitions on Saturday which will fall during the Easter holiday weekend, a time when many people go out of town.

The advisory comes as the re-tallying of votes ordered by the Supreme Court started.

The latest advisory comes after the Kenyan government cancelled all political rallies across the country to help cool down political temperatures after the peaceful general elections.

The National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) last Thursday advised the country's political leaders to suspend the planned political activities since they pose security threats to the East African nation.

"The government advised the party political leadership to suspend their planned inter-county meetings because these campaign meetings are unwarranted and will only ignite ill-feelings and animosity among Kenyans and could trigger violence and insecurity, " said the statement signed by Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia.

Kenyans voted in presidential elections on March 4 in which Kenyatta narrowly avoided a run-off by winning 50.7 percent of the ballots against his close challenger, Odinga who garnered 43.4 percent.

The historic elections were being watched closely by both local and international poll monitors who have said the election was credible and called on the political leadership to maintain peace as they await the presidential petition at the Supreme Court.

The March 4 polls were the very first to be held since the 2007/ 2008 post election violence, when, within a 7 week period following the polls, and as a direct consequence of the contested results, thousands of civilians were victims of serious crimes, including killings, sexual and gender based violence, forced internal displacements, destruction of properties.

The elections are important also because these elections will be the very first to be organised under Kenya's 2010 Constitution, which provides for safeguards against unfair, insecure, corrupted, non transparent or inefficiently administrated elections.

Editor: Hou Qiang

Source: news.xinhuanet.com/english/africa



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