15 December 2012

Kenya: U.S., Britain Say Uhuru-Ruto Fate Lies With Kenyans

Diplomats from the United States and Britain now say it is up to Kenyans to decide whether or not Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto should run for public office, despite charges they're facing at the International Criminal Court.

American ambassador Robert Godec and British High Commissioner Christian Turner say their governments are only interested a free, fair and transparent.

"I fully support the Kenyan government's ongoing support of the ICC and the commitment of the indicted themselves to continue that co-operation with the ICC process," Turner said.

He however added that his government wants to see an end to impunity and justice for Post-Election Violence (PEV) victims.

"We support the international rule of law... we support an end to impunity and we support justice for the victims of post election violence."

Godec was emphatic that the Obama administration is not backing any candidate and is only eager to see that the elections are carried out in a democratic manner.

"The United States is not and will not interfere in this election. This election is only for the Kenyan people to decide and only the Kenyan people."

The two diplomats were speaking at the Thika Municipal Stadium in the company of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Issack Hassan, where they witnessed the progress voter registration has made.

The United States has contributed up to $34 million to the IEBC and other Kenyan organisations that are concerned with the elections. In spite of this, Godec assured there were no strings attached to the funds.

Hassan supported this assertion, explaining that when the international community is approached for assistance their contributions are deposited with the United Nations Development Programme to manage.

"The support we are getting from our development partners including the ambassadors who are here is not conditional."

"We in the United Kingdom are, I think, the largest single donor to the IEBC under the basket fund," Turner pointed out.

"We tell them areas where we need support," Hassan continued, "Like for example, on voter education, we didn't have a lot of money from the government budget. We got Sh120 million."

Even with apathy concerns rife, the envoys lauded the progress the IEBC has made so far in the registration of voters.

"The rate of registration across the country is faster than was the case in 2010 at the constitutional referendum and in 2007," Turner observed.

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