Wednesday 8 August 2012

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton remarks in Kenya criticized

 South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane (L) and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  in Pretoria, South Africa, Aug. 7, 2012 Clinton  (Xinhua/Li Qihua)
The American top diplomat during her Aug. 4 visit suggested that two Kenyan presidential aspirants facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague should not be allowed to contest the March 2013 national vote.

The pair, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former cabinet minister William Ruto are among the four Kenyans – the other two being a radio journalist and a retired senior civil servant – accused of fanning and financing the 2008 post-election violence that resulted in deaths of estimated 1,300 Kenyans.

Citing sources, a local television station Citizen TV reported on Monday that Clinton had told Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that if the two run for presidency, Washington will review it relations with Kenya.

Although opinion is divided among Kenyans, most interviewers said Clinton should not dictate to Kenyans whom they should elect or not elect and that the local courts were the ones to decide if the two will run.
"The ICC itself has said the suspects are free to run, so why is America trying to impose its wishes on Kenyans," Salaton Kamau, a pharmacist at Kasarani, a suburb 20 kilometres north of the capital Nairobi told Xinhua by telephone on Tuesday.

"What Clinton said may easily influence the court case in Kenya that is to decide if the two will run. I think the era where the Americans used to order people around and impose their will is long gone and Clinton should recognize that. The balance of global influence easing from the United States as the independence of African states improve because of growing economies and middle class," Alfred Were, a student at the United States International University (USIU) said.
Daily Nation reported on Tuesday that one of the suspects William Ruto said the U.S. should keep off local politics.

"The U.S. Secretary of State has told the government that Kenyatta and I are not supposed to run. She has also hinted that America will impose sanctions on us if we participate in the polls and win. This is dictatorship," the Daily Nation quoted Ruto as saying.

He said Clinton is trying to manipulate the outcome of their cases in the High Court and the ICC through her comments.
Kenya will go to polls on March 4, 2013. The previous election was contested after dispute arose over the presidential vote tally for Raila and Kibaki resulting in violence that almost led Kenya into a civil war.
Kenya is the region's leading economy and a regional business hub and its instability will have serious security, humanitarian and economic effects across the eastern, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region.

In other news Heads of state from Africa's Great Lakes Region on Tuesday started a two-day meeting in the Ugandan capital Kampala in a bid to end escalating fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The summit convened under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a regional organization and brought together 11 member states.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, Tanzania's Jakaya Kikwete, Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza and DRC's Joseph Kabila are attending the closed door meeting.
Other ICGLR member states including Angola, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Sudan and Zambia sent government representatives.
High on agenda is the creation of an international or regional force to oversee the security on the common border between the DRC and Rwanda.

A ministerial report to the heads of state recommended that regional ministers of defense, experts from the African Union, United Nations and other organizations meet before Aug. 15 to discuss troop contribution and the logistical and financial needs of the force. (Xinhua)

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