The US government through its top administration official has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and his political rivalry former Prime Minister and leader of Nasa coalition Mr. Raila Odinga to iron out their divergent views surrounding the conducting of the October 17 fresh presidential election.
“All eyes were on Kenya as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission invited Mr. Kenyatta and Raila to a make- or – break meeting over the elections,” Donald Yamamoto the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary to US government’s Bureau of African Affairs said. The Bureau of African Affairs falls under the US Department of State and has the responsibility of advising the Secretary of State on matters touching on Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr. Yamamoto pointed that he had reached out at top two political leaders in Kenya and told them the world is watching.
This is the first time a senior government official in a Donald Trump’s presidency has spoken out publicly over political issues affecting the Kenya’s political stability aside from US ambassador to Kenya Mr. Robert Godec’s statements.
“Kenya is probably on its way to the threshold of a great election on October 17, but it’s the issues that we need to focus on and work with … the eyes of the world and the US government are on you, on Kenya,” said Yamamoto. His comments came while giving a speech on advancing common interests of US-African partnerships at the US Institute of Peace based in Washington, on Wednesday.
He further stated that they(US) are not going to shift their focus from Kenya, because Kenya matters to the United States. Since America’s largest embassy is based in Nairobi-Kenya that ultimately means they have a stake in Kenya, so does the entire Africa. Therefore, Trump’s government is concerned looking at where the trend line will follow after October 17.
America has huge stakes in Kenya, ranging from economic, social, political and security matters, especially in the fight against terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking. The US was at the forefront in pushing for mediation at the height of the 2007/8 post-election violence between retired President Mwai Kibaki of PNU who had been crowned the winner and his main opponent Raila Odinga who vied through ODM.
Sources at the IEBC have revealed the commission has scheduled a consultative meeting between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga on Wednesday to thrash out issues that the National Super Alliance has raised. The meeting is said to take place at the Bomas of Kenya, which served as the commission’s National Tallying Centre. “I am positive that we are going to sit down and for the sake of the country, we shall come up with a solution to any issues that might be a barrier to the holding of October 17 election,” IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said last week, before the commission confirmed the sending of invitations to the two protagonists on Twitter on Friday.
In the coming Wednesday meeting, the IEBC hopes to go through Nasa’s demands while taking into consideration the Jubilee Party’s preferences. It is at this meeting that the IEBC is expected to tell the candidates if there will be a change of the elections date following a request by French firm Safran Morpho for more time to re-configure the 45,000 voter identification and result transmission kits. (KIEMS)
The commission has prepared a 12-page agenda document for the meeting in which they have promised to re-vet returning officers, audit their servers and improve on the ballot paper printing tender.To ensure the integrity of the ballots, the IEBC has proposed a tracking system from the source to the warehouses, until the polling stations, data which will be available to the two rivals, while reducing the extra ballot paper provision that led to an extra 1.2 million in the August 8 poll.
Nasa has demanded, among other things, the sacking of IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba, commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye and nine other senior officials, the cancellation of the Dubai-based Al-Ghurair tender to print the ballots and an audit of the IEBC server before the polls.
“Kenyans are coming for you. Salvage what you can and run. There will be no election with you in office,” Mr Odinga told the 12 IEBC officials on Sunday.
President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party, on the other hand, has toned down on calls for change of staff at the commission, instead demanding that the IEBC be granted the independence to choose its staff and make managerial decisions without interference
“We must give IEBC the space to run this election. We must respect their independence … It is not in our purview to decide staff and other administrative issues for the IEBC. That is the job of the commissioners,” said Deputy President William Ruto after a meeting with the IEBC last week
A joint meeting between the two parties planned for Tuesday last week aborted after Mr Odinga, who was accompanied by his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka, and co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula walked out when Mr Ruto failed to arrive for the 11am meeting.
The DP, who arrived later, said his tardiness was due to a Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting he had attended.
Separately, US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, Jr said Kenya showed a great maturity in democracy after the Supreme Court ruling, which nullified presidential results that had seen President Uhuru Kenyatta declared winner by the IEBC.