NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7- US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson appeared to contradict the stand taken by President Barrack Obama on Kenya’s March 4 polls, with a caution on Thursday that the choice of president ‘would have global consequences.”
Speaking from Washington via video link with reporters at the United States embassy in Nairobi, Carson warned that as much as the general election was a Kenyan affair, its outcome will have implications since a president “must work with the international community.”
“Individuals have reputations; individuals have images, histories and reputations. When they are selected to lead their countries those reputations do not go away from them, they are not separated,” Carson cautioned.
“We as the United States do not have a candidate or a choice in the elections; however, choices have consequences, we live in an interconnected world and people should be thoughtful about the impact their choices have on their nation, economy region and the world in which they live,” he advised.
On Tuesday, Obama issued a statement from the White House saying the US was prepared to accept and respect whatever choice the Kenyan electorate make on March 4.
Obama also urged Kenyans to reject incitement which could lead to violence which was witnessed in the country after the disputed election of 2007.
“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,” Obama said on Tuesday.
Carson repeated Obama’s plea that the election be free and fair and without intimidation. The envoy said that the country’s leaders had to be held responsible for their actions before during and after the election.
He said that a peaceful and successful election will guarantee the nation’s stability and continue to attract foreign investment and to fuel the country’s economic growth.
“Accountability for electoral violence including that experienced in 2007/8 is an important part of building a peaceful and prosperous county,” added Carson highlighting the drop in economic growth experienced after the 2007 general election.
Obama’s message on Tuesday was welcomed by presidential candidates Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Alliance and a day later by Raila Odinga of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy.