23 February 2013

Kenya: New U.S. Secretary of State Calls President Kibaki Over Polls

Nairobi — US Secretary of State John Kerry has echoed President Barrack Obama's call for fair, peaceful elections.

The State Department said on Saturday that Kerry had made a phone call to President Mwai Kibaki reiterating that the forthcoming election provides the opportunity for Kenyans to come together.

"Spoke with President Kibaki - echoed POTUS (President of the US) message: Now is time for Kenya to come together, free, fair, credible election with no violence," read a post on the Department of State twitter account @Statedpt.

Earlier in February President Obama insisted that his country will not endorse any presidential candidate, in the forthcoming election.

Obama urged Kenyans to avoid mistakes which could lead to violent incidents like the one witnessed after the disputed 2007 election.

"The choice of who will lead Kenya is up to the Kenyan people. The United States does not endorse any candidate for office, but we do support an election that is peaceful and reflects the will of the people," Obama said.

Obama further challenged Kenyans to shun tribal and divisive politics saying it was the only way the country would achieve growth and prosperity.

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson has however appeared to contradict the stand taken by Obama cautioning that the choice of president 'would have global consequences."

Speaking from Washington via video link with reporters at the United States embassy in Nairobi, Carson had warned that as much as the general election was a Kenyan affair, its outcome will have implications since a president "must work with the international community."

"Individuals have reputations; individuals have images, histories and reputations. When they are selected to lead their countries those reputations do not go away from them, they are not separated," Carson cautioned in his remarks days after Obama spoke.

"We as the United States do not have a candidate or a choice in the elections; however, choices have consequences, we live in an interconnected world and people should be thoughtful about the impact their choices have on their nation, economy region and the world in which they live," he advised.

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