Why Uhuru and Ruto are uneasy with Clinton visit
Posted Saturday, August 11 2012 at 23:30
She reportedly said that the US was not ready to work with the two, should either become president
The visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week has rattled Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s and Mr William Ruto’s presidential campaigns.
This follows remarks attributed to her in media reports that the US was not ready to work with Deputy Prime Minister Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP Ruto should either of them be elected president next year.
There is also the fear that her comments may provide fodder for some politicians once a court ruling is made on the eligibility of the two to run for president. If the decision is not in Mr Kenyatta’s and Mr Ruto’s favour, their allies may blame the decision on Mrs Clinton’s influence.
Civil society groups have moved to court seeking a declaration on whether the two, who are fighting crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court, should be allowed to vie for the presidency in the March 4, 2013 election.
Made it clear
Ahead of the visit, the State Department had made it clear that Mrs Clinton’s agenda was to discuss Kenya’s next elections.
At a meeting with US embassy staff and families last Saturday, the Obama administration’s top diplomat described the March 4 polls as “critical elections”.
“Because of the violence in 2007, Kenya lost more than a billion dollars in investment. The GDP dropped significantly,” she said.
Mrs Clinton said that whenever Kenya Government leaders ask her to help them attract more business and investment, she always has a ready response.
“Do your part to make sure this election is free, fair and transparent and that all Kenyans accept the results, and do your part to speak out against divisiveness,” she said.
The US official met President Kibaki, Prime Minister Odinga, Chief Justice Mutunga, and other government officials to push for a transparent, credible and non-violent election.
But it is the subject of the meeting between Mrs Clinton and Dr Mutunga that is generating the most heat.
On Thursday, Nairobi-based lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui wrote to the CJ asking him whether they discussed “the conduct or direction of Kenyan judicial proceedings”.
This was an apparent reference to the Uhuru-Ruto eligibility case. What is going largely unarticulated is the fear that Mrs Clinton was in some way trying to influence the decision, which could put the independence of the Judiciary to the test.
Mr Ruto, who wants to vie for the presidency on a United Republican Party ticket, on Monday accused Mrs Clinton of plotting to lock him and Mr Kenyatta out of the State House race.
“The US Secretary of State has told the government that Mr Kenyatta and I are not supposed to run. She has also hinted that America will impose sanctions on us if we participate in the polls and win. This is dictatorship,” he said. Mr Ruto was reacting to reports that Mrs Clinton was concerned that the two may be planning to use the presidency to frustrate the ICC.
And on Friday, Mr Kenyatta, who has been building his platform — The National Alliance — told off those opposed to his candidature over his ICC case.
“It is not for foreigners nor for the courts to decide who should vie for the presidency; it is up to the over 40 million Kenyans.”