6 March 2018

Kenya: Calls for U.S. Intervention in Kenya's Affairs Absurd - Ministry

Photo: Capital FM
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary, Ambassador Macharia Kamau.

Nairobi — The government has dismissed calls for US intervention in Kenya's internal affairs made by two former American diplomats as absurd and unacceptable.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary, Ambassador Macharia Kamau, in a dispatch to newsrooms on Tuesday said the appeal by Ambassadors Mark Bellamy and Johnnie Carson, both of whom have previously served as US envoys to Kenya, was a clear demonstration of preconceived notions and stereotypes Western diplomats have on the continent.

Kamau said Kenya had in fact healed from a divisive political period witnessed in last year's presidential elections which just like in any other country, he said, was a demonstration of vibrancy and maturity of democracy.

He said President Uhuru Kenyatta's acceptance to go back to the polls on October 26 after his August 8 victory was annulled by the Supreme Court was a clear demonstration of Kenya's budding democracy.

"With memories of US interventions in countries such as Libya and Iraq ostensibly to return democracy, still fresh in our minds, the jitters about this proposal by senior US leaders is understandable," Ambassador Kamau stated in his statement.

"Any form of interference by the US in a country that has time and again demonstrated her commitment to entrench democratic principles, rule of law and good governance can only portend danger," the former Permanent Representative (Kenya) to the United Nations in New York remarked.

He dismissed claims by Ambassadors Bellamy and Carson that President Kenyatta's administration was cracking down on opposition figures as inaccurate insisting that the government was acting within the law.

"In the long and arduous walk to entrench democratic principles in Kenya, no individual or institution is exempt from the dictates of the constitution," said Ambassador Kamau.

"Just like in any other democracy, the media, various arms of government, political parties, the civil society groups and all citizens are bound by the constitution and the violation of the same has consequences in line with the rule of law," he said in response to a weeklong shutting down of three television channels commencing on January 30 when National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga was sworn-in as self-proclaimed "President of the People," and the subsequent arrest of the oath administrator, self-declared National Resistance Movement general Miguna Miguna, later deported to Canada.

Ambassadors Bellamy and Carson had in an article published on a pan-African news platform - African Arguments - said an intervention by the US was critical to forestalling violence that could result into bloodletting.

"Today, the protests are continuing and risk escalating into inter-communal violence. A more imminent risk, however, is that harsh Kenyan government crackdowns on what is increasingly a forlorn campaign could lead to this same outcome. Detaining Odinga, for example, would ignite passions that would be hard to control," they said in the article published on February 27.

"A key objective would be to prevent a descent into violence, but that is only half the job. The larger danger now is the threat to the rule of law posed by an increasingly imperious executive apparently determined to remove legal and constitutional restraints on its exercise of power," they remarked.

Ambassador Kamau, however, differed with Bellamy's and Carson's point of view saying Kenya had actually started healing from gruelling presidential elections last year, a trajectory that the government is determined to maintain.

"Their (NASA's) attempt to perpetrate violence in the wake of their electoral loss have been outrightly rejected by Kenyans with the government taking the necessary steps to fulfil its cardinal responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Kenyans in line with the Kenyan constitution," said Ambassador Kamau.

He noted significant strides made since President Kenyatta's second term swearing on November 28 as a clear demonstration that nation was stable.

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