NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Members of the British Parliament have expressed their interest to continue working with Kenya ,even with Uhuru Kenyatta as President.
Discussing the outcome of the March 4 presidential polls and its implications in the House of Commons on Thursday, the legislators said Kenya was a key ally who should be maintained at all cost.
The legislators argued despite Kenyatta and Deputy President-elect William Ruto facing charges at the International Criminal Court, the two governments should continue with their cordial relations as Kenya was respecting and working with the court.
Contributing to the debate Falkirk MP Eric Joyce said it was difficult to overstate the importance of Kenya to the United Kingdom and, indeed, the wider international community.
“Perhaps first and foremost, Kenya is at the centre of international efforts to ensure the security of our own citizens. Citizens of Kenya have played a high price for that role and for their pivotal location in the world in recent years, from the United States embassy bombing in 1998 through to the Al-Shabaab attacks of last year, yet that is rarely reflected in public discourse here in the UK,” he said.
Trade was seen as a reason why Kenya and the Britain should continue to engage each other. The legislators agreed that Kenya was Africa’s pre-eminent junction for flows of trade and investment, people and, inevitably information.
“From a trade and investment perspective, Kenya has many buoyant businesses, and it is the world leader in mobile payment systems. The Minister will be well aware of the UK’s early role in facilitating M-PESA. Off the top of my head, I believe that the former Commonwealth Development Corporation—now the CDC—was involved in seed corning that project in Kenya,” Joyce said
Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood said that there was a perception in Kenya that the UK and United States Governments, as well as some others, were not wholly impartial ahead of the polls.
It was said that UK diplomats had sought to push for Prime Minister Raila Odinga to win and that they had made comments during the tallying process that had seemed to work towards enabling a second-round run-off, which might have dis-benefited Kenyatta.
Horwood said this impression should be corrected and President elect Kenyatta and the British Government should now swiftly bury the hatchet and move on to building much better relations, because there is a potential benefit for both parties.
“Things said in election campaigns should be reflected on, but we then need to build relationships and move forward. We ought, perhaps, to approach that with humility; we all sometimes say things in election campaigns that we regret,” he said.