The 2013 IEBC Kenya election results have placed the United States in an uncomfortable position as Uhuru Kenyatta claims victory. Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission confirmed over the weekend that Kenyan voters have selected the candidate charged by the International Criminal Court to be its next president.
Kenya’s election results were partly a work of spite. A senior American official warned Kenya that “choices have consequences,” expressing a clear preference for Kenyans to vote for anyone other than Kenyatta. International condemnation allowed the election’s front runner to maintain an underdog appeal. As The Inquisitr monitored the election, Kenyatta maintained a steady lead. Kenyatta’s supporters were encouraged to turn out, and he received 98 percent of the vote within some areas where his Kikuyu tribe resides.
Kenya is the US’s largest ally in sub-Saharan Africa; the country hosts America’s largest embassy in the region and receives $1 billion in aid. The nation has collaborated with the US in the international fight against Al Qaeda and helped to capture Somali pirates at large just off its shores.
President Barack Obama now has to tread carefully in interacting with Kenya, the nation where his father was born and a place that the president spoke fondly of in his early memoir, Dreams from My Father. President Obama garnered high popularity in Kenya following his successful 2008 campaign, but his popularity waned somewhat after US foreign policy in many ways remained the same.
The US wants to maintain its strong alliance with Kenya without being seen as supporting a president charged of taking part in the election violence that followed Kenya’s 2007 election, funding death squads that contributed to the mass slaughter of opposition supporters. Kenyatta’s trial is scheduled for July, and the US would rather not stand President Obama up beside a man traveling back and forth from The Hague. The international community has praised Kenya’s election without acknowledging the victor.
Raila Odinga lost the election in 2007, and he lost again in 2013. His tribal group and supporters suffered in the massacre that followed the election, and there was a general feeling among some that the crimes had not been atoned for. Many feared another round of violence following this year’s election, but such bloodshed has not taken place. The US may not be pleased by Kenya’s election results, and the IEBC has fallen under some scrutiny domestically, but at least there is a silver lining.
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