Sunday, December 16, 2012

US to respect outcome of March poll

From left: Danish ambassador Greert Aagaard, British High Commissioner Christian Turner, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) chairperson Isaack Hassan and US Ambassador Robert Godec during a voter registration drive in Thika December 15, 2012.

From left: Danish ambassador Greert Aagaard, British High Commissioner Christian Turner, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) chairperson Isaack Hassan and US Ambassador Robert Godec during a voter registration drive in Thika December 15, 2012. The US has said no decision has been made to ban Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto from America. CORRESPONDENT   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN KELLEY in New York and OLIVER MUSEMBI in Thika newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com

The United States and its European allies will respect the will of Kenyans when they elect the country’s fourth president next year. 

The State Department said on Friday it has made no decision on whether to allow Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto to enter the United States.

Department spokeswoman Tula Orum made the comment via email in response to a question from the Sunday Nation regarding press reports in Kenya implying that the US has decided to deny entry to Deputy Prime Minister Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP Ruto.

Referring to those reports in the Kenyan media, Ms Orum said that “the eligibility of an applicant for a US visa is determined only after an application has been received”.

“If, and when we receive an application, we will of course apply applicable US law, regulations and policy to determine eligibility,” Ms Orum added.

The State Department did not respond to a question by the Sunday Nation as to whether the US has a policy of denying visas to persons indicted by the International Criminal Court.

Both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, who have formed an alliance to contest the March elections, have been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity.

Envoys from US, Britain and Denmark yesterday said their countries were not opposed to any of the presidential aspirants, including Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto. 

At the same time, they denied reports that a travel ban had been imposed on Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto. 

“We are not backing or opposing any candidate, political party or ethnic group. It is not for us to decide who is elected,” said British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner. 

His views were echoed by the US embassy Charge d’Affaires Robert F. Godec and Danish Ambassador to Kenya Geert Aagaard Andersen who said their countries will remain neutral over the Kenyan elections.

The three had accompanied Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan on a tour of voter registration centres in Thika municipality, Kiambu County.

The US envoy said his government will not interfere with the Kenyan electoral process and was only offering technical support through the IEBC.  

The Danish ambassador said Kenya was a very important partner of the European Union and that the forthcoming election must be “free, peaceful and credible”.