The Principal Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amb. Monica Juma DPhil CBS, who is on an official visit to the United Kingdom today held bilateral talks with Hon. Rory Stewart OBE, Minister of State for International Development and Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London.They deliberated on key issues of mutual interest including deepening Kenya-UK bilateral relations as well as the ongoing electoral process and preparations for the presidential election scheduled for 26th October 2017.
During the meeting, the Minister lauded Kenya for its pivotal role in the promotion of peace and security in the sub-region. In his initial remarks, the Minister said that even well-intentioned changes to the electoral laws so close to a polling date can be misconstrued. He, therefore, called upon the Jubilee Party and the NASA coalition for tolerance and urged them to cooperate with the IEBC to ensure that the forthcoming Presidential Elections are conducted in accordance with the constitution and as directed by the Supreme Court.
The Principal Secretary pointed out that Kenya’s unique circumstances, where an election was nullified as a result of process challenges without reference to result, make it necessary for amendments to be undertaken as a matter of priority. This is because it became evident during the Presidential election petition that there was lack of clarity in the law relating to the verification of results and transmission of presidential results which was a critical factor in nullifying the election.
Amb. Juma reiterated that the proposed changes are expected to bring clarity to the enabling law and regulation, and secure without doubt the expectations regarding the conduct of the election, behaviour of parties, and the parameters for invalidation of an election. In this regard, parliament considered it imperative to administratively and logistically secure the transmission and verification of results as well as clarify the legal provisions as regards the role of the Chairperson viz-a-viz declaration of results, the complementary system applicable in an election, and the penalties for wilful malpractices.
The Principal Secretary reassured the Minister that the proposed amendments intend to implement the declarations by the Supreme Court and seeks to support the work of IEBC by ensuring that the Commission has a clear legal framework that guides the conduct of the fresh Presidential election and any subsequent elections. She added that all stakeholders stand to reap the same benefits when the provisions of the law are clarified.
With respect to public demonstrations, the Principal Secretary stated that the Government recognizes citizens’ rights for demonstrations and picketing but they must be peaceful orderly and within the law. She emphasized that the police have exercised considerable restraint in the management of these demonstrations and the Government has urged them to continue doing so as they maintain law and order.
In this regard, Amb. Juma urged the United Kingdom and the international community to condemn efforts that seek to lead Kenyans towards disruptive activities, violence, and anarchy.
Prior to that, the Principal Secretary paid a courtesy call on Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary & Head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. On Regional matters, the Principal Secretary also held a meeting with Mr. Christopher Trott, UK’s Special Representative for Sudan and South Sudan. She was accompanied by Kenya High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Amb. Lazarus Amayo, Hon. Abdikadir Mohamed, Senior Advisor, Constitutional and Legal Affairs in the Executive Office of the President and Dr. Korir Sing’Oei, Legal Advisor, Executive Office of the Deputy President.
Later in the Afternoon, the Principal Secretary and Amb. Martin Kimani, the Director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre and Special Envoy CVE joined participants as key speakers at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) in a roundtable discussion on “Navigating Security and Democracy in Kenya”. Other contributors at the well-attended forum included Mr. Andrew Kamau, the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Petroleum, Hon. Abdikadir Mohamed among others. The event was moderated by Dr. Karin von Hippel, Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute.
Yesterday, 11th October 2017, at the Chatham House Amb. Juma took part in a roundtable session as the main speaker and made an articulate and very informative presentation on “Kenya’s Democratic Development and Regional Position: Navigating the Path to Elections and Beyond.” The roundtable that was organized courtesy of the Chatham Africa Programme was chaired by Dr. Alex Vines OBE, the Director for Regional Studies and Head of Africa Department, was attended by a cross-section of British stakeholders including Government officials, the diplomatic corps, the Business community, the civil society, the academicians and the Kenyan Diaspora among others.