Obama urges Uhuru, Ruto to build on gains of new constitution

Friday April 5 2013

President - elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto meet with the United States of America Ambassador Robert Godec at Kenyatta International Conference Centre on April 05, 2013. PHOTO / PPS

President - elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto meet with the United States of America Ambassador Robert Godec at Kenyatta International Conference Centre on April 05, 2013. PHOTO / PPS 

By PPS

President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto on Friday met United States Ambassador Robert Godec who delivered a congratulatory message from President Barrack Obama.

In the congratulatory message, President Obama urged Mr Kenyatta to build on the gains of the new constitution.

Mr Kenyatta however told the US Ambassador that diplomatic contacts between the two countries would be between the democratically elected leaders.

Friday's meeting came a day after a US State Department official had told a forum that the charges of crimes against humanity levelled against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) played a significant role in preventing violence in the just concluded elections. (READ: ICC charges contributed to peaceful elections - US)

"The fact that these indictments have been out there has had an effect in terms of the peacefulness of this past election," said Stephen Rapp, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes. He made the remarks at a forum on US-ICC relations held at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

President Obama, in his message, said the just concluded electoral process and the peaceful adjudication of disputes that ensued are testaments to the progress Kenya has made in strengthening its democratic institutions.

"Now that your election has been confirmed, you have the opportunity to build on the promise of Kenya’s Constitution and solidify its place as a vibrant and prosperous democracy centered on the rule of law,” President Obama said.

He noted that the United States and Kenya have been strong partners since the latter's independence in 1963.

“Together we have faced many problems and solved many challenges and our cooperation has benefitted both of our peoples” he added.

During the meeting, President-elect Uhuru said Kenya regards the US as a valuable development partner and ally in addressing regional challenges especially terrorism, insecurity, money laundering and piracy.

The President-elect said he looked forward to strengthening ties and cooperation between Kenya and the US for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Mr Kenyatta further emphasized that his government looked forward to continued cooperation with the US and the international community in general in the consolidation of peace in Somalia in order to ensure the country does not become a breeding and training ground for terrorists who pose a security threat to Kenya and the region.

In attendance during the talks were outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Prof Sam Ongeri, Permanent Secretaries Thuita Mwangi and Mutea Iringo among senior government officials.