US, EU have no restrictions for Uhuru, Ruto
The United States and its European allies will respect the will of Kenyans when they elect the country’s fourth president next year.
Envoys from US, Britain and Denmark said their countries were not opposed to any of the presidential aspirants including International Criminal Court suspects Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
At the same time, they denied reports that there was a travel ban imposed on Mr. Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.
“We are not backing or opposing any candidate, political party or ethnic group. It is not for us to decide who is elected,” said British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner.
His views were echoed by the US embassy Charge d’Affaires Robert F. Godec and Danish Ambassador to Kenya Geert Aagaard Andersen who said their countries will remain neutral.
The three had accompanied Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan on a tour of the Thika municipal voter registration center in Kiambu county.
Responding to questions from journalists, the envoys reiterated that it is up to Kenyans to decide who leads them, but insisted that the rule of law must be respected.
However, they did not say how their countries would relate with Kenya should Mr. Kenyatta and his coalition partner Ruto, who are facing crimes against humanity charges at the ICC, be elected to the country’s highest political office.
“Our position on the ICC is very clear not just for Kenya but internationally. We support the rule of law, an end to impunity and justice for all. It is not for us to say who wins the election; that is the wish of Kenyans” said Mr. Turner.
Noting that Britain was the largest single donor towards the Kenyan electoral system, he said his country was keen to see Kenyans register in large numbers and elect leaders of their choice.
Mr. Turner also commended the Kenyan government for co-operating with the ICC, saying the matter should be left to the international justice system.
The US ambassador said his government will not interfere with the Kenyan electoral process and was only offering technical support through the IEBC.
He said his government has so far donated US Dollars 34 towards voter education, capacity building and other technical assistance.
“On whether some candidates will run the US does not support or oppose any individual or political party; we shall remain impartial and it is up to the local courts and Kenyans to decide,” Mr. Godec said.
He added; “Of course we support the rule of law and justice. As for the visa ban the reports were inaccurate.”
Mr. Godec said the election will be another opportunity for Kenya “to prove that it is a leader in Africa.”
The Danish ambassador said Kenya was a very important partner of the European Union and that the forthcoming election must be “free, peaceful and credible.”
He said out of the 30 million dollars funding from the EU towards the Kenyan electoral process Denmark has given 4 million dollars.
The IEBC chairman ruled out any extension of the Tuesday registration deadline and criticized some civil groups for trying to delay the elections through court cases.
Mr Hassan said the commission will also not allow people with identity card waiting slips to register despite Parliament having passed a motion to the effect, as this has not gotten presidential ascend.
He said registration and voting for Kenyans in the Diaspora will be implemented “progressively” starting with the East African Community region where registration clerks have already been posted in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
The chairman also took issue with political party leaders for doing little to mobilize voters to register and instead engaging in forming coalition. “Who will vote for their coalitions if people do not register,” he posed.