Obama: US will respect and work with a freely and fairly elected Kenyan President

Kenyans have been waiting for a signal as to which direction the United States will take regarding the Kenyan General Elections. This is even more important since we have an ICC trial suspect and Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta pitying against CORD coalition candidate Raila Odinga who once claimed to be Obama's cousin and comes from Obama's father tribe and home town. These two are the leading contenders in the Kenyan presidential race.

Amidst rumours of economic sanctions to Kenya by the West (with US and UK in the lead) if Uhuru ascends to the presidency, many Kenyans have been silently thinking that Obama (and the West generally) prefers a Raila Odinga presidency.

However, in his statement to Kenyans, Obama showed no preference to Raila Odinga nor did he hint at a strained US-Kenya relationship if Uhuru Kenyatta wins the presidency on March 4th. His main emphasis was peaceful, free and fair elections which reflects the will of the people.

Here is the statement

"Habari yako. Over the years, I have been greatly moved by the warmth and spirit - the strength and resolve - of the Kenyan people. And I've been grateful for my connection to Kenya, and the way you've welcomed me and my family to your beautiful country - from my father's village in Alego, to bustling Nairobi.

"In my visits, I've seen your progress. Kenya has lifted people from poverty, built an emerging democracy and civil society, and sustained a spirit of hope in the face of great difficulty. After the turmoil of five years ago, you've worked to rebuild communities, reform institutions and pass a new constitution.

"Now, Kenya must take the next step in March, with the first national elections under your new constitution.

"We all know what makes for successful elections. Kenya must reject intimidation and violence, and allow a free and fair vote. Kenyans must resolve disputes in the courts, not in the streets. Above all, the people of Kenya must come together, before and after the election, to carry on the work of building your country.

"The choice of who will lead Kenya is up to the Kenyan people. The United States does not endorse any candidate for office, but we do support an election that is peaceful and reflects the will of the people.

"This election can be another milestone toward a truly democratic Kenya defined by the rule of law and strong institutions. If you take that step, and reject a path of violence and division, then Kenya can move forward towards prosperity and opportunity that unleashes the extraordinary talents of your people - especially young people. If you continue to move forward, you can build a just Kenya that rejects corruption, and respects the rights and dignity of all Kenyans.

"This is a moment for the people of Kenya to come together, instead of tearing apart. If you do, you can show the world that you are not just a member of a tribe or ethnic group, but citizens of a great and proud nation. I can't imagine a better way to mark the 50th anniversary of Kenyan independence. And I say to all of you who are willing to walk this path of progress-you will continue to have a strong friend and partner in the United States of America. Kwaheri." 

and the YouTube Video

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