NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 11 – The European Union has denied issuing threats of sanctions against Kenya should Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto ascend to power.
EU Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Kenya Lodewjik Briet says 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 elections,” Briet said.
Speaking after holding a closed door meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri, Briet dismissed claims that the EU had threatened unspecified sanctions on Kenya should the two be elected in March.
“The word sanctions has never been used by us. Why would there be sanctions?” he asked.
The meeting between Ongeri and the EU diplomats failed to reach an agreement on the demand that an apology be made and that further threats be stopped forthwith.
“What we did say to the Minister (of Foreign Affairs) is that we are very keen to see across Kenya that there is no violence. Violence doesn’t produce a conducive investment climate,” added Briet.
Ongeri further confirmed that he had sent an informal diplomatic communication to the US government over the same issue.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said that Kenya is concerned about contradictory statements made by foreign powers regarding the elections.
“The remarks made by EU envoys are clearly inflammatory and could have the effect of polarising the country. Indeed, these elections are heavily contested and statements warning Kenyans that the poll results are in favour of certain candidates would have consequences – could amount to taking sides,” Ongeri said in a statement he read to the 25 EU ambassadors and high commissioners.
Ongeri accused the foreign diplomats of attempting to interfere with the ongoing electoral process in Kenya and questioned the involvement of the EU commission observation group which has been accredited by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to operate in Kenya.
“Such overt partiality displayed openly by the EU envoys, in our view constitute a serious breach of the IEBC’s code of conduct and must be censured,” he said.
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 Kenyatta and Ruto win 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 sent a veiled but clear message on Thursday that the election of Kenyatta as President of Kenya could be received negatively by the US and other countries.
The United States top diplomat for Africa has said the duty of electing Kenyan leaders rests with its people but added the rider that “choices have consequences”.