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Reps. Engel, Smith, Bass Introduce Bipartisan Resolution on Kenya's Election

Jul 17, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; and Rep. Karen Bass, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, have introduced a resolution urging the Government of Kenya and Kenya’s political parties to respect democratic principles and hold credible, peaceful, and transparent elections next month (H.Res.449).

"The United States has long encouraged Kenya's democratic consolidation, and I commend our Ambassador to Kenya, Bob Godec, for his work on this issue the past five years. However, with Kenya's elections less than a month away, I'm concerned by reports of delays in preparation and the fact that there may be insufficient time to test critical voting equipment. These types of delays contribute to an environment in which the credibility of the polls could be at question," said Rep. Engel. "We're introducing this resolution because we consider Kenya a key strategic partner for the United States and because the potential for these elections to have far-reaching implications across the continent.”

“Kenya has had two consecutive national elections–2007 and 2013–each of which has been marked by questionable results and violent aftermaths.  We call on the ruling party, opposition parties and the election commission to work to ensure that the election this August is transparent.  This will enable the people to participate in a free and fair process that allows them to have confidence in the accuracy of the results.” said Rep. Smith.

“As Kenya sets to hold its presidential elections next month, it is important that Congress stresses the necessity of transparent, free and fair procedure for the Kenyan government and election officials. These elections present an opportunity for Kenya to work responsibly to mitigate violence and they also offer the country a chance to serve as an example for others in the region. I’m proud to support this important resolution and urge my colleagues to do so as well.” said Rep. Karen Bass.

Background:

Kenya is a key partner for the United States – both to promote regional security and as a hub for humanitarian assistance, finance, and transportation. Kenya will hold general elections on August 8, 2017. In light of Kenya’s recent history of contentious elections, this resolution urges the country to hold credible, peaceful, free and fair elections, and calls upon Kenyan citizens to resolve any disputes through the legal system. This resolution also supports the assistance provided by the State Department and USAID for election-related preparations, as the United States is the largest bilateral donor to Kenya’s electoral process. In addition, this resolution encourages the role that Kenyan civil society organizations have played to ensure a peaceful pre- and post-election environment and by providing critical early warning and response measures to mitigate election-related violence.

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