Cape Town – Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, has called on Kenyan authorities, politicians, leaders to act in a responsible manner and respect the the decision of the electorate, as the east African country took to the polls on Tuesday.
In a statement, CIVICUS said that Kenyan authorities had "a responsibility to ensure a peaceful and transparent election, which will enhance Kenya’s democratic credentials".
CIVICUS, Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, David Kode, said the east African country’s politics was largely based on "ethnic affiliation and views of political figures were taken seriously".
He urged the political leaders to "avoid using language that may incite the population and instigate violence" during and after the elections.
Reports indicated that a key concern after the polls was whether Kenya would echo its 2013 election, a mostly peaceful affair despite opposition allegations of vote-tampering, or the 2007 election, which led to violence fueled by ethnic divisions that killed more than 1 000 people.
CIVICUS claimed that in the lead up to the Tuesday polls, human rights activists and journalist were intimidated, attacked, and vilified when they sought access to the voter registration stations, polling booths and report on political campaigns.
It said that on June 18, a journalist with the country’s Nation newspaper, Walter Menya, was arrested and held at an undisclosed location for two days before being released without charge.
"Some communities have heightened tensions by accusing activists and journalists of anti-nationalist agendas for making representations at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 polls.
"CIVICUS calls on the Kenyan authorities, politicians and leaders to act in a responsible manner and respect the will of the electorate during and after the elections," said the group.