France reaffirms it will remain neutral on Kenya elections

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KENYA: The French government has come out to clarify that they remain neutral and will not dictate whom Kenyans should elect on March 4.

In a statement sent to Nairobi from Paris, the Francois Hollande government reiterated that it has no preferred candidate saying that it’s only the Kenyan people are the sole masters of their choice.

Paris said that Kenya remains its leading partner in East Africa and for that reason France will remain keen on the evolution of the situation in the country, and that it was observing utmost neutrality with regard to the upcoming elections.

“France hopes that these elections shall be carried out in free, fair and peaceful conditions so that the election results, whatever the outcome, are accepted by all the candidates, and any eventual disagreements are channelled through the relevant procedures,” the statement read in part.

While underscoring the significance of the general election, the Hollande administration urged Kenyans to conduct peaceful polls as the country commences its jubilee celebrations.

“The general elections of 4th March constitute a major challenge for Kenya. During this year of the fiftieth anniversary of its independence, the country has the opportunity to confirm its democratic and economic progress, and its status in the region, contributing to regional stability notably in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.”

The statement came only days after its envoy in Nairobi Etienne De Poncins said his government stands by the decision made by European Union countries who had warned that the choices made in the elections will have consequences.

The ambassador however said his country will be rooting for free, fair and peaceful General Election. De Poncins said the French government has no preferred presidential candidate but consequences will be there on the relations with Kenya on the final choice of leaders if they are questionable.

“France will stick to the EU stand to respect the ICC, and the member countries in relation to ICC suspects,” said De Poncins.

The coded warning from both EU and US ambassadors is being interpreted to mean Kenya will face possible sanctions should Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto is elected.  Uhuru and Ruto have been indicted by the ICC where they face crimes against humanity charges for the 2007/08 post-election violence.

Meanwhile the East African Community (EAC) ministers have told western envoys to keep off from interfering with the Kenyan elections.

In a statement, EAC says it’s only the Kenyan people who will exercise their sovereign powers to elect their leaders saying such choice should be respected.

“We call upon all well-wishers to refrain from unduly interfering with the electoral process in Kenya,” the statement signed by five ministers read in part.

Those who signed the communiqué include Kenya’s EAC ministry Assistant minister Moses Sakuda, Uganda’s foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, his Tanzania counterpart Bernard Membe, Rwanda’s Internal Security minister Sheikh Musa Fazil and Burundi’s Public Security minister Gabriel Nizigama.

The ministers released the statement after gathering for the 11th meeting of the sectoral council of foreign policy coordination saying they stood in solidarity with the people of Kenya ahead of the polls.

“We underscore the need to respect the will and decision of the people of Kenya to elect leaders of their choice,” the communiqué read adding that the EAC wished the country a peaceful, free and fair elections.

Source: standardmedia.co.ke

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