The Star (Nairobi)

8 November 2012

Kenya: U.S Can't Dictate to Kenya, Envoy

The US government is not opposed to ICC suspects Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto running for the presidency, a top official has said.

Under secretary for political affairs Wendy Sherman said it is up to the courts and Kenyans to decide whether the two are eligible to vie for the country's top job.

The official said the US cannot dictate to Kenyans who to vote for, and added that US secretary of State Hilary Clinton could have been misunderstood when she commented on the matter during her visit to the country last month.

However, she reminded Kenyans they were part of "an inter-connected global economy and whoever is elected to lead the country must be above reproach".

Sherman was giving a public lecture on the American and Kenyan elections at Kenyatta University. With her was Vice-Chancellor Prof Olive Mugenda and acting ambassador Robert F. Godec.

The diplomat said the US attaches great important to peaceful elections in Kenya, adding that would bring foreign direct investment to the country and help create employment.

She said integrity issues must also be crucial in the electoral process and any form of corrupt practices should be dealt with.

Referring to the US elections which kicked of yesterday and Kenya's March 4, 2013 exercise, the diplomat said Kenyans can learn a lot from the American process.

"Kenyans must maintain political stability for the country to attain economic growth and potential. The elections must be free and fair in order to attract US investments," the official said. She added that last year the country got over 700 million US dollars in aid.

Regarding the year 2000 vote impasse in the US where there was no clear winner between then President George Bush and his opponent Al Gore, she said Kenya could have avoided the 2007/2008 post election violence by resolving the issues peacefully.

Ms Sherman defended President Barrack Obama from accusations that his administration has sidelined Kenya since he took over the US leadership.

The envoy said US appreciates Kenya's role in liberating Somalia from Al Shabaab militias and its involvement in bringing stability to the Horn of Africa country.

She hailed the achievements by KDF in joining Amisom to free Somalia from the militias, saying it is proof of Kenya's growing influence in the African continent

She said her government welcomes the enactment of the anti-terror law and pledged to continue co-operating with Kenya in the fight against terrorism.

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