US risks being alienated in Kenya – Jendayi Frazer
NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – A former senior diplomat under President George W. Bush has criticised the United States for not formally recognizing Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last week’s elections.
Jendayi Frazer, a former United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said the US and Europe were playing a dangerous game for their delayed endorsement of Kenyatta’s presidency.
“If the US, the UK and the Europeans don’t want to deal with Uhuru Kenyatta, he has another option,” she cautioned.
Speaking in an interview with American TV channel PBS, Frazer said that Kenya is a strategic partner to the United States and a key ally in the fight against terrorism in addition to being East Africa’s economic hub.
“Many American businesses like FORD, General Electric and others are based there so it’s key to the region as whole,” she said.
However, she warned that the West risked losing it’s strategic influence in the region.
“The geo-strategic environment has changed entirely and particulary (in favour of) China. The Chinese have changed the playing field (and) if the US, the UK and Europeans don’t want to deal with Uhuru Kenyatta, he has another option,” she explained.
Frazer who says she has been to Kenya twice this year said the the Chinese ambassador and Foreign Ministry have already welcomed Kenyatta by referring to him as president-elect.
Frazer accused the US, Canada and Britain of meddling in Kenyans domestic affairs by threatening to put trade sanctions on Kenya, if Kenyatta was elected.
“They are in a bad situation because prior to the election, they threatened the Kenyan electorate by saying ‘if you elect Uhuru Kenyatta, there will be consequences; we may put trade sanctions,’ which was extraordinary because the case for Kenyatta is not proven,” she explained.
She said that the diffusion of power, the expectations about the new institutions as well as the lessons learnt from the 2007 General Elections had accounted for the lack of violence this time.
Frazer also explained that the tribal competition is still imminent and that this election was based on communities voting for “their boys.”
“The need for healing and reconciliation is still much there in Kenya,” she said.