, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – The British government has stressed that it is not backing any candidate for the presidency in Kenya’s forthcoming general election.
Visiting UK Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham said on Monday that his government was only be interested in supporting a free and fair electoral process in Kenya.
“We support transparent, credible and peaceful elections which produce results to the people of Kenya. The UK has no any interest in any particular outcome of the general election. It is not backing any particular party or people. We are and we remain non-partisan,” he clarified after meeting with Cabinet Ministers Moses Wetangula and George Saitoti.
His remarks follow allegations that the UK was clandestinely backing Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the presidency in the next polls. The dossier containing the claim hinted that Britain thought it would be easy to try President Kibaki at the International Criminal Court for the 2008 post-election violence if Odinga was in power.
The UK has since dismissed the dossier as a forgery and “preposterous.”
Bellingham who has held several meetings since arriving in Kenya on Saturday said the discussions revolved around elections, the Constitution implementation process, trade and security especially in view of the military operation in Somalia.
He said it would be necessary for measures to be put in place to ensure there is peace upon the expiry of the term of the Somali Transitional Government in August this year.
He said it was the concern of his country that there was peace not just for their citizens visiting Kenya but also Kenya itself.
The minister pledged that his government would continue working closely with Kenya especially on trade, acknowledging that the country was among the top partners on bilateral partnerships in Africa.
Wetangula, who is Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister, asked the UK to make travel easy to enable trade between the two countries.
Wetangula also clarified that Bellingham was not scheduled to meet President Kibaki contrary to reports in a section of the media that the Head of State had snubbed the UK minister.
He said Bellingham was scheduled to meet various government officials, the National Security Intelligence Service, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Vice President and the Prime Minister to discuss matters pertaining reforms in Kenya and also trade.
On Sunday, Bellingham visited Mogadishu where he held talks with Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar.
The UK minister is on a 10-day visit to Africa to promote British interests.