UNITED NATIONS, The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and the African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson have issued a joint statement calling on political leaders and stakeholders in Kenya to work together towards the preservation of calm and peace in the country as it heads into a court-mandated fresh presidential election on Thursday.

This comes as international pressure and concern continues to build ahead of the re-run of the Presidential election, particularly around the capacity of the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct a free and credible poll.

Tensions continue to be high in the east Africa nation, with the opposition, led by former prime minister Raila Odinga calling for a boycott of the vote, and a former electoral commissioner, who fled to the United States last week, saying the IEBC is dysfunctional and unable to produce a credible result.

The UN and the AU are closely monitoring developments in Kenya. The UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Farhan Haq, explained here Sunday: The Secretary-General and the AU Commission Chairperson call on all stakeholders to co-operate with the Independent electoral and boundaries Commission as a constitutionally mandated body to conduct the election.

“They urge all political parties and their supporters to create conditions for a peaceful election, and refrain from any act of violence, and stressed the need for the Kenyan security services to exercise restraint, use minimal force in performing their duties and respect the freedom and political liberties of all Kenyans.

What we want is for everyone to co-operate with the IEBC. Remember, as we said in the statement, that this is the constitutionally-mandated body to conduct the election, and it’s in that context that we want its work to be supported.

Ambassadors of 18 European Union (EU) countries and the United States (US) in Nairobi have also issued a joint statement urging dialogue and calm. US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said: Attacks on the IEBC staff must stop. No one is obliged to stand for office or to vote if they do not wish to, but no one should use violence or intimidation to disrupt the right of others to vote or to participate.

“Doing so is profoundly undemocratic, and leaders must tell their supporters to refrain from such actions. In the coming days the whole world will be watching Kenya in its every step in this electoral process. In particular we are following closely the actions of leaders and politicians. Those who incite violence or undermine democracy should be held to account for their actions.

Earlier this month, in a 37-page report, Human Rights Watch said police in Kenya had killed at least 33 people, and injured hundreds more in response to protests following the now annulled presidential election held as part of the Aug 8 general election. The results of voting for Parliament — National Assembly and Senate — county governors and members of county assemblies from Aug 8 were allowed to stand.