Kenya: Government Rubbishes calls for US to mediate supposed Uhuru-Raila duel

Kenya – Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau has dismissed former ambassadors Mark Bellamy and Johnnie Carson’s call for urgent US intervention in Kenya’s political stalemate.

NASA leader Raila Odinga is laying claim to the presidency having dismissed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election on October 2017.

Following the stand-off, Bellamy and Carson – both former US envoys to Kenya, said “Donald Trump’s administration should privately pressure the Kenyan government to respect democratic norms and obey the rule of law.”

The duo, according to VOA, suggested that the US can exert considerable leverage over the government “Because Kenya needs the relationship more than the US.”

They further argued that Raila and Uhuru are not on an equal ground since the latter controls the executive, has a majority of MPs, and has security agencies on his side, hence the call for an external arbiter.

The ex-envoys also asserted that public pronouncements against Uhuru’s legitimacy may not yield much.

“The harsh reality for Nasa is that it has no legal basis and few realistic options for continuing to dispute Kenyatta’s legitimacy…meanwhile, the president’s control of the executive, comfortable parliamentary majorities, command of government resources, loyalty of the security forces, and broad international support means his standoff with Odinga is very unequal,” Daily Nation quotes the two.

But Macharia, in statement on Tuesday, said the calls by the two ambassadors is “a clear demonstration of how preconceived notions and stereotypes about Africa by the Western technocrats.”

He said the notions override any practical experience and knowledge the envoys may have acquired during their tenure.

The PS said the ambassadors have always got it wrong on Kenyan issues adding: “This is a demonstration of why desk research on Kenya, with the only source of information being a biased western media, should be treated with disdain.”

“The authors seem to revel in misinforming their readers not only on the existing situation but also on the events that unfolded during Kenya’s election cycle in 2017,” he says in the statement.

                                                                                          

Johnnie Carson and Mark Bellamy.

“They talk of political chaos and possible inter-communal violence and a palpable desire to change this trajectory. They even mourn that attempts by western governments to appeal for calm are not being heeded,” Macharia said.

He further argues that the claims of a deliberate attempt by the executive to subvert the rule of law cannot be further from the truth.

Macharia said the fact that Kenya went through the prolonged campaign and electioneering period and emerged peaceful, should be a reason to celebrate the resilience of her democracy.

Kenya’s Constitution which was enacted in 2010 is barely 8-year-old.

“The 2017 elections presented an opportunity to test the institutions created by the constitution including the Judiciary and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission,” the PS said.

Macharia added: “The question of whether the institutions withstood the test can be attested by the peace and tranquillity that is existing in Kenya barely three months after the repeat elections.”

Macharia said the ex-envoys’ assertion that Kenya is unravelling due to “the widening rift between the ruling Jubilee and NASA coalition”, betrays their double standards when it comes to democratic tenets in Africa as compared to the same in America.

“Competitive politics in a democracy, both in America and in Africa, can never be described as turmoil. Indeed, political competition is a key tenet of democracy and Kenya has demonstrated that with strong institutions, credible and peaceful elections are possible,” he said.

The PS said it is no wonder that the current US ambassador in Nairobi Robert Godec and the entire US government has risen above Kenya’s political challenges.

“Just as Carson was proven wrong on his assertion in 2013 that Uhuru’s election would have negative consequences, the two countries have once again continued in the path of strengthening their bilateral relations and partnerships with a clear understanding of the need for mutual respect.”

“The threats issued and the grand standing advocated for by the two US leaders in this article is not only unfortunate but also an affront to Kenya’s sovereignty,” the PS said.

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