The NGO Council of Kenya has appealed to the political class including the opposition to observe political tolerance and resume bipartisan talks.
The council warned that the country cannot afford another round of violent street protests that have killed up to 21 people.
In a statement, Council chairman Stephen Cheboi said the country is at virtual standstill due to demonstrations that are scaring away investors, tourists, and forcing Kenyans to stay indoors..
“It can no longer be business as usual when political hardliners decide to hold the country at ransom while expecting things to improve when they are getting worse,” Cheboi said.
Cheboi noted that already some high end hotels at the coast have started laying off workers due to little business as tourists stay away. Western envoys in Nairobi have issued travel advisories against visiting Kenya which is a blow as tourism is the country’s number one foreign exchange earner.
“We are urging political actors to engage in talks and desist from demonstrations that have rocked the country and disrupted normal business in several parts of the country,” the statement added.
Cheboi urged President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga to put their differences aside for the sake of the country and engage in meaningful talks instead of the planned Wednesday-Friday demonstrations which could plunge the country into total turmoil.
“The violent protests are scaring away investors, tourists and potential development partners,” Cheboi pointed out.
“The NGOs Council urges the opposition to call off planned protests and resume the talks as earlier scheduled. Hard line positions in the country are not helpful at all. ”
“As a Council of NGOs we firmly restate our position through more than 12,000 affiliate Members that the destiny of the country is far more important than the individual ambitions of leaders pushing the country to the edge in a selfish scheme to secure power at whatever cost something that we find unacceptable” said the statement.
The Council expresses regret over the six reported deaths in the saba saba demonstrations and another nine reported deaths during the recent Wednesday demonstrations that turned chaotic in parts of the country.
Our country should learn from what is happening in countries with political instability in other parts of the world like Sudan, Somalia, DRC Congo and Ethiopia.
“We call for Peace and harmony among all leaders in the country. Peace is paramount’, concluded the statement.