Freedom House Urges Political Solution to Kenyan Crisis; Removes Country from Electoral Democracy List | Freedom House

Freedom House Urges Political Solution to Kenyan Crisis; Removes Country from Electoral Democracy List

Washington, D.C.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki should open talks with the political opposition and seek a negotiated settlement to the current political crisis, Freedom House said today, expressing concern over the violence that has gripped the country in the wake of widespread charges of electoral fraud. 

As a result of developments since the December 27 election, Freedom House has removed Kenya from its list of  the world’s electoral democracies.  It has also lowered the country’s score for political rights in its forthcoming global survey, Freedom in the World. The country’s rating for political rights dropped from a 3 in 2006 to a 4 in 2007 (on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the lowest score).

The report, which covers the period of January 1 through December 31, 2007, will be released in full on January 16, 2007.

“The government’s determination to win this election at any cost led to a process that fell short of international standards and resulted in the country’s current state of crisis,” said Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House.  “Kenya’s political leaders in and out of government should appeal to their followers for an end to violence and should seek a political solution.  It is our hope that Kenya’s president will seriously consider democratic options to solve the crisis, including potentially an independent recount of the vote or a repeat election open to outside observers.”

More than 300 people have been killed in rioting that broke out following the announcement that incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was re-elected. The government has responded in part by limiting media freedom and curtailing live broadcasts, creating a stark contrast to Kenya’s formerly vibrant media environment.

“The developments in Kenya are especially disturbing because of their regional implications,” said Arch Puddington, director of research at Freedom House. “Kenya is one of Africa’s largest and most important countries. It is, moreover, a country that, under President Kibaki, had made notable gains in both political rights and civil liberties. By this one reckless act, Mr. Kibaki has now placed this progress in serious  jeopardy.”

The instability resulting from Kenya’s elections has already impacted the region, with more than 6,000 Kenyans fleeing into Uganda and Tanzania to escape the violence. 

For more information on Kenya, visit:

Freedom in the World 2007: Kenya
Countries at the Crossroads 2006: Kenya
Freedom of the Press 2007: Kenya

Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has monitored political rights and civil liberties in Kenya since 1972.


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