The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Uhuru Tells EU, U.S. Not to Interfere

DEPUTY Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has warned that his government will not work with those countries that interfered in Kenyan politics if he wins the next election.

Uhuru has declared his interest in standing for president on March 4, 2013 with Eldoret North MP William Ruto as his running mate.

The two have been charged with crimes against humanity by the ICC and their trials are due to start on April 10 and 11, the same date as the likely second round run-off vote in the election.

Last week Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi suddenly dropped his proposed pact with Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and joined Uhuru and Ruto in the Jubilee Alliance.

There was widespread speculation that he had been asked to be the Jubilee presidential candidate since the ICC charges would complicate the candidacy of Uhuru and Ruto.

"The incoming government will have a myriad of different issues to address. There will be no time for a tug-of-war with the international community. To them we state that we as Kenyans will work with nations of the world who are believers in democracy. We will hold fast to the ideals of sovereignty, sovereign equality and national integrity, and to our hope for a better Kenya," Uhuru said in his Jamhuri Day statement.

"The international community is obligated by its own moral framework to respect whatever decision Kenyans make next year because they know Kenyans are well able to choose for themselves," Uhuru said.

"Anything short of that realization is a re-incarnation of colonialism. We are therefore confident that all who understand the principle of self-determination will continue to extend a hand of friendship to the Kenyan people who have, similarly, never attempted to dictate the domestic affairs of other nations," said Uhuru.

"Yet we will work together with all like-minded and peace-loving nations towards a mutually beneficial agenda agreed upon within a partnership of equals," he said.

The National Alliance leader issued the statement from Dubai where he is on tour. The authoritative tone of his statement indicated that he is still intending to stand for president on March, or at least that he will consider it 'his' government if he stands down and Mudavadi runs in his place.

Uhuru and Ruto have denied charges of involvement in the violence in 2007/8 that left 1,200 people dead and 300,000 displaced from their homes.

Uhuru and Ruto have repeatedly accused the international community of conspiring to use the ICC to block them from forming the next government and to instead make Prime Minister Raila Odinga the president.

Last week former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was in Kenya and warned that it was highly unlikely that the ICC cases against Uhuru or Ruto could be dropped.

He said that sanctions against Kenya would be almost inevitable if they were elected president and deputy president. He privately said Kenya risked being "disconnected from the international financial system."

Several European countries have already issued travel bans against Uhuru and Ruto because they are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC. Their ambassadors are also not allowed to meet or deal with them.

The US government is also reportedly taking a tough line on travel by the suspects. Uhuru has recently been on a charm offensive with regional African presidents travelling to seek the support of Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, Riek Machar of South Sudan, and Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania as he lobbies African leaders to bring back the ICC cases back to Kenya.

In his statement yesterday, Uhuru pleaded with Kenyans to move forward and forget the past. "Let us move forward together- leaving behind the old things. Let us not allow the past to weigh us down for the future beckons our nation: calling us to fly and fly high," said Uhuru.

He said the hearts of Kenyans should be filled with hope and their minds with resolution. He challenged Kenyans to remain united irrespective of their tribes.

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