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India ‘to respect wish of Kenyans’

BALLOT-BOX-EMPTYNAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 -The Indian government says it will not endorse any presidential candidate in the forthcoming General Election and will comfortably work with any individual elected president.

High Commissioner Sibabrata Tripathi said his country did not have a policy of alienating a country where leaders had been democratically elected.

Speaking in Embu when he paid a courtesy call on County Commissioner Hellen Kiilu, the envoy assured that his country had confidence in the current electoral process and expressed optimism that Kenya would hold a free and fair election.

“As the representative of the world’s most populous democracy, I would only wish Kenya and its people well as they embark on this very historic elections coming after the promulgation of the most progressive constitution that the world is aware of at this moment,” he said

“We are fully comfortable with the fact that Kenyans will choose whoever they want to chose through the ballot. And we will work with the government of Kenya consistently,” Tripathi added.

He said his country had strong business and social ties and was keen on maintaining the friendship even after President Mwai Kibaki retires.

Tripathi said his country would not be influenced by countries which had indicated they would shun the country if candidates facing charges at the ICC were elected and called on the international community to respect the right of Kenyans to elect their preferred candidates.

“The choice will be that of Kenyans and they must be allowed to exercise their right. India will not issue any sanctions and will always allow people to visit us,” he affirmed.

On Monday the European Union denied issuing threats of sanctions against Kenya in the event that Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto ascended to power.

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EU Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Kenya Lodewjik Briet said they only expressed their stand on their relationship with persons facing trial at the ICC.

“We are hoping for violence free elections and we have restated our support for the ICC process and to the government of Kenya to deliver a free, fair and democratic election,” Briet said after meeting Foreign affairs Minister Sam Ongeri.

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, British High Commissioner Christian Turner and French Ambassador Etienne de Poncins kicked off a storm after they said their nations would review their positions on Kenya if ICC suspects won the March 4th election.

Turner said his government supports the ICC process but it’s up to Kenyans to elect the leaders of their choice.

“We do not have contact with ICC inductees unless it is essential,” said Turner.

Carson last week cautioned that as much Kenyans will have say on who will be their president, their choice had consequences.

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