5 February 2013

Kenya: Uhuru Commends Obama's Position On Polls

Nairobi — Jubilee Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto have commended President Obama for his assurance that his government will be neutral in Kenya's March 4 election.

Kenyatta and Ruto who addressed a press conference at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday evening said they are impressed by president Obama's statement.

"I welcome today's statement by President Obama that the choice of who will lead our nation is the decision of the Kenyan people and that America will continue to be a friend of Kenya, irrespective of who is elected President on March 4th," Kenyatta told a news conference.

He said it would be unfortunate if any government said it will not work with the choice Kenyans to lead the country in March.

Ruto also said their alliance had not received any official communication from any government indicating that it will not work with them if they win the election. He said some of the statements made were individual views but not the position of their government.

"We don't really have a formal statement it is guess work. There were reports that the British High Commissioner had made such a statement and the statement was retracted by the High Commission the same evening. That statement had insinuated that the British government will not accept the election of some people. In the retraction statement they said they had no position. We do not have any formal statement saying that they are unprepared to work with the government lead by Kenyatta and Ruto," he explained.

He also said the communications received from the international community, on the contrary, said other governments will work with whoever Kenyans elect as their leader.

"We would find it really funny if anybody would want to punish Kenyans for exercising the most cardinal of any right in a democratic country. If anybody were to suggest to Kenyans that when you exercise your right that you will be penalised that will be the voice of dictatorship. We do not expect any person that respects democracy to take any offence if the people of Kenya choose their leader," he said.

The two also denied any issuance of sanctions or travel bans against them if they win in next month's general election.

Kenyatta also took the opportunity to announce that the Jubilee Alliance will focus on issues and that it will refrain from individualistic attacks as he advised his opponents to also discuss policies that are important to Kenyans.

Their statements come barely hours after the US president assured that he will not endorse any presidential candidate in the March 4 general election.

Obama instead said he will respect whatever choice Kenyans make in the March 4 poll.

He urged Kenyans to avoid mistakes which can lead to violent incidents like the one witnessed in the country after the disputed election of 2007.

Obama also challenged Kenyans to shun tribal and divisive politics so as to achieve growth and prosperity.

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