Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. With Meles reportedly critical ill in Belgium, which way is the Horn of Africa state headed?, a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Storm over Clinton’s remarks
Thursday, 09 August 2012 00:00
NAIROBI — Remarks made by United States secretary of State Hilary Clinton during her weekend visit to Kenya have come under heavy criticism. The US top diplomat, during her August 4 visit, suggested that two Kenyan presidential aspirants facing trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague should not be allowed to contest the March 2013 national vote.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former cabinet minister William Ruto are among four Kenyans — the other two being a radio journalist and a retired senior civil servant — accused of fanning and financing the 2008 post-election violence that resulted in the death of estimated 1 300 Kenyans.
Citing sources, a local television station Citizen TV reported on Monday that Clinton had told Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that if the two run for presidency, Washington will review it relations with Kenya.
Although opinion is divided among Kenyans, most interviewers said Clinton should not dictate to Kenyans whom they should elect or not elect and that the local courts were the ones to decide if the two will run.
“The ICC itself has said the suspects are free to run, so why is America trying to impose its wishes on Kenyans,” Salaton Kamau, a pharmacist at Kasarani, a suburb 20 kilometres north of the capital Nairobi told Xinhua by telephone on Tuesday.
“What Clinton said may easily influence the court case in Kenya that is to decide if the two will run. I think the era where the Americans used to order people around and impose their will is long gone and Clinton should recognise that.
“The balance of global influence is easing from the United States as the independence of African states improve because of growing economies and middle class,” Alfred Were, a student at the United States International University (USIU) said.
Daily Nation reported on Tuesday that one of the suspects William Ruto said the United States should keep off local politics.
He said Clinton is trying to manipulate the outcome of their cases in the High Court and the ICC through her comments. Kenya will go to the polls on March 4, 2013.
The previous election was contested after dispute arose over the presidential vote tally for Raila and Kibaki resulting in violence that almost led Kenya into a civil war. — Xinhua.