Nairobi — Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni who spoke on behalf of all invited heads of state at Uhuru Kenyatta's inauguration has saluted Kenyans for rejecting what he described as 'blackmail' by the International Criminal Court.
Museveni said Kenyans had exercised their democratic right in choosing their own leaders.
"I want to salute the Kenyan voters on one other issue. The rejection of the blackmail by the International Criminal Court and those who seek to abuse this institution for their own agenda," he stated.
"The usual opinionated actors using their careless and shallow analysis have distorted the purpose of that institution," he pointed out.
President Museveni assured Kenya of his cooperation in ensuring peace in the region -including fighting Al Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia.
"I congratulate you President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and the Jubilee coalition on your victory in the March 4th 2013 presidential and general election. Hongera sana, the people of Uganda congratulate you all especially for holding peaceful elections," he said.
Both Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto both face trial at The Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in orchestrating ethnic killings and widespread violence that followed 2007 polls.
Kenyatta and Ruto have rejected all charges but have said they will cooperate with the ICC.
"I was one of those that supported the ICC because I abhor impunity. However the usual opinionated and arrogant actors using their careless and shallow analysis have now distorted the purpose of that institution. They are now using it to install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate the ones they do not like."
He said the violence in 2007 was "regrettable and must be condemned," but said that a "legalistic process, especially an external one, however cannot address those events."
Top leaders of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, fighting in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, also face trial at the ICC.
But Museveni said that Uganda had referred rebel chief Joseph Kony "to the ICC because he was operating outside of Uganda. Otherwise we would have handled him ourselves."
He caused laughter at the end of his speech when he urged President Kenyatta to ensure he stops cattle-rustling in Uganda from the people of West Pokot.
"When I arrived in Kenya, I met this MP from West Pokot. The people of West Pokot are used to stealing my cattle. I have now agreed with this MP that they will now stop stealing my animals," he said.
He emphasised the need for unity among countries within the region especially with regard to the use of natural resources like natural oil.
"Our region has also discovered substantial amounts of oil and natural gas. All the member countries of the East African region have varying levels and amounts of deposits of this natural resource. Uganda in particular discovered oil in 2006 but has not been able to start the extraction process," he explained.
Other heads of state present at the inauguration included Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan, South Africa's Jacob Zuma, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Ismail Guelleh of Djibouti.
Others were South Sudan president Salva Kiir and Paul Kagame of Rwanda among others.