British PM congratulates Uhuru

Sunday March 31 2013

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo/FILE

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo/FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVE OPIYO [email protected]

Britain on Saturday appeared to have a change of heart when it congratulated President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta after the Supreme Court upheld his election victory.

Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Mr Kenyatta minutes after the Supreme Court upheld his election.

A statement from a spokesperson at the PM’s office read: “The Prime Minister wrote to President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta today. He congratulated the President-elect and all others elected in Kenya’s elections.”

The statement went on: “The Prime Minister also underlined his strong commitment to the partnership that exists between Kenya and the UK. He described the relationship as deep and historic, with a substantial shared agenda of stability, security, development and prosperity that benefits both our countries. He looked forward to working with the President-elect’s new Government to build on this partnership, and to help realise the great potential of a united Kenya in line with Vision 2030.”

Britain is one of the Western countries that had avoided directly congratulating Mr Kenyatta since his election, opting instead to send congratulatory messages to Kenyans.

Also in line to congratulate the president-elect were the European Union, France and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Congratulating him

The EU spokesperson said: “The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, sent a message today to President Kenyatta congratulating him, the people of Kenya, and all others duly elected, on the successful and largely peaceful conduct of the elections.”

He added: “Kenyans can be proud that the political reform process of their country is bearing fruit. With continued efforts to implement the new Constitution Kenyans can build the globally competitive and prosperous nation they aspire to be.”

Last week, the British government was under pressure from its MPs to explain its future relations with Kenya if Mr Kenyatta’s victory were upheld by the Supreme Court.

During a heated debate in the House of Commons, the MPs led by Mr Eric Joyce – the independent legislator for Falkirk – challenged the government to state whether it would maintain its ties with Kenya despite the cases facing Mr Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto, at the International Criminal Court.

However, giving the official government response to a motion by Mr Joyce, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alistair Burt maintained that the UK had never threatened to severe or weaken ties with Nairobi should Kenyans elect Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto on account of the cases at the ICC.

“The UK has never threatened sanctions against Kenya on this issue. The charges are against three individuals, not Kenya as a whole.”