NAIROBI: Warning repeatedly of ‘consequences,’ the top U.S. diplomat for Africa yesterday appeared to caution Kenyan voters against electing a president who faces charges for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.
U.S. diplomat Johnnie Carson never named the candidate in question, but the subtext of his words was clear: If Uhuru Kenyatta, one of two top candidates for president, wins, it will affect Kenya’s relationship with the international community.
Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister and son of Kenya’s founding father, faces trial at the ICC in April for crimes against humanity in 2007-08 directed at the supporters of his opponent in this year’s election: Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Kenyatta’s running mate, William Ruto, a former government minister, also faces trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity related to the 2007-08 election violence.
Echoing a video message by President Barack Obama to the people of Kenya on Tuesday, Carson said the U.S. doesn’t have a candidate or a choice in the election, but he pleaded with Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the violence that marred the last vote, and said their choice for leader will affect their country’s global standing.