Mbeki faults police use of excessive force on demonstrators

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki

Kenyan police are on the spot over the use of excessive force on demonstrators opposed to today’s repeat presidential election.

The African Union Election Observer Mission has censured the conduct of the Kenya Police Service in quelling protests in parts of the country after Opposition chief Raila Odinga pulled out of the contest demanding reforms within the electoral commission.

While praising the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's (IEBC) preparedness ahead of today’s poll, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is the head of the mission, yesterday also faulted the excessive use of police force in ensuring that the exercise goes on as planned.

Mr Mbeki urged the Opposition to also restrain its supporters from disrupting the election.

Concerns raised

Mbeki said there was need for dialogue between the country’s leaders as the concerns raised could not be cured through the ballot, adding their final report would include this recommendation.

“We are deeply concerned by the security situation. The police are supposed to discharge their duties with responsibility as stipulated in the Constitution. They should avoid use of excessive force on demonstrators,” said Mbeki.

“We have had interactions with acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and shared these concerns. He should guarantee the security of the election, the electorate and the IEBC staff."

He noted that Raila was in order to withdraw from the election but added he should not interfere with others still in the race, including President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Although he avoided commenting on whether he believed the election would be free, fair and credible, he stated that his mission recognized the steps taken by IEBC to address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court.