UK heated debate on Kenya,denies endorsing Raila

The British Government has come under pressure from MPs to explain its future relations with Kenya if President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory is upheld by the Supreme Court.

During a heated debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, British MPs led by Mr Eric Joyce — the independent legislator for Falkirk — challenged their government to state whether it will maintain its ties with Kenya despite the cases facing Mr Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto, at the International Criminal Court.

Giving the official government response to a motion moved by Mr Joyce, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alistair Burt strongly denied allegations that it had endorsed Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the March 4 presidential election.

“Looking ahead, some people have expressed concern that the UK will reduce its cooperation with Kenya because of the charges pending against President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta at the ICC,” Mr Burt responded.

“That assertion is not based on facts. We are motivated by a desire to respect Kenya’s sovereignty and to ensure that the Kenyan court is able to do its work free from interference. We are confident that it will adjudicate swiftly and fairly, and we call on all sides to respect its independence,” he explained.

“Irrespective of who emerges as the confirmed winner, I am confident that the UK will want to continue working with the next government in Kenya; to continue supporting a reduction in poverty; to continue helping UK companies looking to invest in Kenya in support of Kenya’s Vision 2030; and to continue working together on security and stability in Somalia.”

Mr Burt maintained that the UK had never threatened to severe or weaken ties with Nairobi should Kenyans elect Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto on account of the cases at the ICC.

“The UK has never threatened sanctions against Kenya on this issue. The charges are against three individuals, not Kenya as a whole. The people of Kenya should not be arbitrarily punished for the alleged crimes of their leaders.”

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