By Henry D Gombya
Western countries are facing a dilemma as Uhuru Kenyatta is slowly but surely heading the Kenya’s presidency following a closely-fought election with outgoing Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. By this morning, Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the country’s first president Jomo Kenyatta was still leading his closest opponents by 53.4 per cent to 42 per cent. If he maintains his lead and eventually takes his seat in State House Nairobi, Kenyatta will cause the West a painful headache as to what to do with a popularly-elected Kenyan president who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court.
Throughout his being pursued by the ICC, Mr Kenyatta, 51, has been very diplomatic expressing his innocence throughout and vowing to clear his name. Attempts to make it impossible for him to contest the presidency were last week thrown out of court when a judge ruled it was his right to contest the presidency.
Despite what happened in 2007 when nearly 1200 people were killed after the results of the elections that year were announced, Kenya remains one of the most respected and peaceful countries in Africa. It is a tourists dream and retains respect in most parts of the world. Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said there had been a massive turn out during Monday’s vote despite concerns over possible violence. The IEBC said the election was largely peaceful in spite of isolated cases of deadly violence in some parts of the country. These took place in the coastal town of Mombasa but otherwise the majority of regions in the country went about casting their votes in a peaceful and humble manner. It would be very interesting to see how the ICC wiggles out of this one.
An editorial in Tuesday London Daily Telegraph said: “…even if widespread violence is avoided, the outcome could still present Britain with a dilemma.” If Kenyatta won, the paper said, Britain would then be placed in a difficult position. “Our government does not deal with anyone indicted by the ICC, meaning Britain could find itself unable to speak to the president of Kenya.” The editorial goes on: “Exactly 50 years after we ceased to govern that country, we might choose to estrange ourselves from its leader. At least 20,000 Britons live in Kenya while annual trade totals £1.5 billion. The army send thousands of British troops there for regular exercises. Moreover, Kenya is central to stabilising Somalia and fighting terrorism in the Horn of Africa.” It then ends by advising Her Majesty’s Government to be ‘pragmatic enough to deal with anyone chosen by Kenya’s people’.