Expressing concern at the post-election violence in Kenya and its humanitarian consequences, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) Tuesday called on all the parties concerned to exercise restraint and commit themselves to a peaceful solution of the crisis through dialogue.
In a statement issued after its 109th meeting here, the PSC indicated that the prevailing situation in Kenya could have far-reaching implications for peace and stability, not only in Kenya but also in the East African region.
During the session, the Council was briefed on the situation in Kenya, in light of the tension and violence that erupted in that country following the
27 December 2007 presidential election.
Council strongly deplored the loss of lives, condemned the gross violations of human rights that occurred in the past weeks and called for an in-depth investigation into those violations, with a view to identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice, said the statement.
It called on the parties to refrain from acts of violence and from any other act that could further complicate the situation, as well as prevail on their supporters to put an immediate end to the violence.
Meanwhile, the Council welcomed the visit by the current Chairman of the AU, President John Kufuor of Ghana, to Nairobi from 8 to 10 January 2008, with a view to assisting in defusing the tension, bringing an end to the violence in the country, and facilitating the efforts aimed at finding a solution to the post-election dispute.
It also welcomed the efforts made by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the East African Community (EAC), and by other leaders of the region to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Kenya.
Council also stressed the need for the parties to extend full cooperation to the mediation efforts to be undertaken by the group of eminent African elders, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Taking a lesson from the Kenyan episode, the PSC stressed the need to initiate a collective reflection on the challenges linked to the tension and disputes that often characterize electoral processes in Africa, including the strengthening of the African capacity at national, regional and continental levels to observe and monitor elections.