Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday appealed to the opposition to hold legal demonstrations, not street protests, and allow Kenyans to get back to normal life after last week’s disputed vote.
“To our friends who have yet to accept the outcome, we continue to appeal to them, and we have extended our arm and a hand of peace, and a hand of friendship, and for them to use whatever legal mechanisms that have been created via our wonderful constitution to express their dissatisfaction,” Kenyatta said.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s rejection of the results of Tuesday’s election — in which Kenyatta won 54 percent of the vote — has led to sometimes violent clashes between his supporters and police that have killed at least 16 people since Friday.
Odinga has said he will announce “the next course of action” on Tuesday, leaving Kenya on tenterhooks.
Kenyatta said Odinga should follow legal avenues to protest the election, and repeated a call for peace
“At the end of the day we are all Kenyans, we don’t need to fight one another, we don’t need to destroy each other’s p
roperty, we don’t need to take life,” he said.
“There is not a single Kenyan anywhere who wants to continue to see violence, looting and demonstrations that end up destroying properties,” he said, striking the same conciliatory tone he used when accepting victory on Friday.
“Kenyans have said that the election is behind them, the majority have returned to work,” he said, as the capital Nairobi returned to a level of busyness not seen since polling day, despite Odinga’s call for people to stay away from work to mourn those killed in protests.
Kenyatta also thanked police — who human rights groups have criticised for their violent crackdown on protests — and urged them “to use restraint”.