UN Commissioner identifies improved leadership responsibility as way forward for kenya
UN High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in a report filed by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has lend his voice to commend ‘the peaceful voting in the recent presidential election in Kenya.’ The UN High Commissioner however urged Kenya’s political leaders “to take the responsible path and exercise their leadership to avoid violence.”
According to the report, ‘the UN Human Rights Chief expressed concern about reports that Kenyan security forces used live ammunition against protesters, and about reports of police brutality, leading to several deaths and injuries, including children.’
Zeid Ra’ad, in his talk, briefed on the protest that erupted ‘after the announcement of results on the 11th of August, with instances of individuals resorting to stone throwing, looting and destruction of property.’
“Kenya is at a critical juncture,” according to Zeid. And that “the country’s political leaders must do their utmost to calm a volatile political climate.” He added that “if there are claims to make about the conduct of the elections, they should be made through constitutional and legal means.”
Protest, in his opinion should be a demonstration of choice which must not be refuted. He emphasized that people are free to stage a protest when due.
“People have the right to assemble and protest peacefully, and the authorities have a responsibility to ensure they can do so. The Government also has a responsibility to ensure that security forces prioritize dialogue, non-violent means and exercise restraint, using proportionate force only when unavoidable.
“Protesters should never resort to violence and political leaders should send clear messages to their supporters urging peaceful conduct. All acts of violence, including the serious allegations of excessive use of force by security forces, must be promptly and independently investigated.”
High Commissioner therefore urged ‘the Government to make an immediate announcement that it will cooperate fully and unequivocally with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and with subsequent efforts to ensure accountability.’
Correspondent: Ridwan A Olayiwola