White House urges Kenyans to ‘peacefully accept’ election results

The White House on Saturday called on Kenyans to peacefully accept a final decision from the nation's high court upholding the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country’s president.

Kenya's Supreme Court on Saturday unanimously upheld the election victory of Kenyatta, setting aside questions of voter fraud.

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"We urge all Kenyans to peacefully accept the results of the election," said Jay Carney, White House press secretary in a statement.

"The electoral process and the peaceful adjudication of disputes in the Kenyan legal system are testaments to the progress Kenya has made in strengthening its democratic institutions, and the desire of the Kenyan people to move their country forward," he said.

The White House congratulated Kenyatta and commended challenger Raila Odinga for accepting the Supreme Court's decision.

"Now is the time for Kenyans to come together to fully implement the political, institutional and accountability reforms envisioned in the Kenyan constitution," Carney said.

"Kenya is an important member of the international community. We welcome and wish to underscore the importance of Kenya's commitment to uphold its international obligations, including those with respect to international justice," he added.

About 86 percent of Kenyans waited in long lines to vote on March 4. Despite some problems at the polls and with the reporting of results, which were acknowledged by the court, the decision found that they did not affect the outcome.

Despite the validation of the election, Kenyatta is expected to be called to The Hague to face an even larger legal battle on charges of crimes against humanity.

He is accused of using his family's hefty resources to hire death squads to target opponents after the last election in 2007. Kenyatta says he is innocent.

The violence left more than 1,000 dead six years ago and led to fears that the recent election would spark a fresh wave of violence.

President Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, cited his personal “connection” to the country in a video message taped before the election, urging the country to hold a “free and fair vote.”

“We all know what makes for successful elections. Kenya must reject intimidation and violence, and allow a free and fair vote,” Obama said. “Kenyans must resolve disputes in the courts, not in the streets.”

After voting ended, both Kenyatta and Odinga, asked Kenyans to remain peaceful, especially as tension increased while the court took nearly a month to make a final decision upholding the election results. 

There were some protests through the capital of Nairobi, especially in strongholds for the runner-up.

“I urge you to accept the election is over,” Kenyatta said Saturday and called on the nation to rise “above the partisanship.”

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