Tributes pour in for Kenya’s president-elect
NAIROBI, Kenya, March 9 – Congratulations have poured in from the international community on the election of Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta as the fourth President of the Republic of Kenya.
In a statement sent through the United States Department of State, Secretary John Kerry congratulated Kenyatta on his win and others who were elected, and pledged that America will continue to be a strong Kenyan ally.
“On behalf of the United States of America, I want to congratulate the people of Kenya for voting peacefully on March 4 and all those elected to office. Across the country, Kenyans turned out by the millions to exercise their most fundamental democratic right. I am inspired by the overwhelming desire of Kenyans to peacefully make their voices heard.”
“Since its independence in 1963, Kenya has been one of America’s strongest and most enduring partners in Africa. We stand with you at this historic moment and will continue to be a strong friend and ally of the Kenyan people.”
Kerry has also called on those unhappy with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) announcement of Kenyatta as president to seek legal redress.
“We strongly urge all parties and their supporters to peacefully address any disputes with today’s announcement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission through the Kenyan legal system, rather than on the streets. These elections are an historic opportunity for the people of Kenya to come together to build a better future.”
The European Union echoed Kerry’s sentiments as did South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, who has sent a personal congratulatory message to the president-elect: “We would like to congratulate the new president and say well done.”
As with the rest of the international community, Zuma said Kenyatta’s pending trial at The Hague will not affect ties between the two nations, “Our simple understanding is that anyone who has been indicted is innocent until proven guilty, so why should you punish a man before the man is found guilty, who knows what will be the result of the case… he might be convicted, he might be acquitted.”
Former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who brokered peace between outgoing President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga following the contested 2007 General Election also congratulated Kenyatta on his election.
“I congratulate all those who will soon be taking up their elective posts and wish them well as they begin to serve their respective constituencies.”
He congratulated Odinga as well, for choosing to go to court over his election grievance. “In equal measure, I applaud the manner in which those unsuccessful candidates, including other presidential candidates, have accepted the results.”
Closer home, the East African organisation IGAD has congratulated Kenyans on a peaceful election with the Executive Secretary, Ambassador (Eng) Mahboub Maalim, expressing confidence that Kenyans will accept the presidential results and move forward in peace.
“The IGAD Elections Observer Mission is confident that the people of Kenya and all stakeholders, especially the candidates will accept the outcomes of the elections and move forward on the path of democracy and development on which their great nation has embarked.”