Uhuru Kenyatta is slated to be the next President of Kenya. The elections in Kenya on Monday were a monumental and happy moment because they were one of the most peaceful elections the country has ever had. And now, as ballots are being counted, Kenyatta has the lead.
For the United States, while the peaceful elections are celebrated, Uhuru Kenyatta becoming President may lead to some serious problems. Kenyatta has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a long list of heinous crimes. He has been accused of stirring up local militia to conduct retaliation attacks in the previous election that killed numerous people, including innocent women and children.
The United States has invested a lot in Kenya, serving as an important ally to the region. Even more, Kenya has become crucial center on Terror.
Yet, the United States is dedicated to justice. And supporting or working with a president that has been indicted by the ICC for crimes against human rights, against women and children, would not be living up to this value. President Obama’s administration, as well as the administrations of many of its allies, are faced with the very tough decision to either completely distance themselves from Kenya, because even small things like diplomats shaking Kenyatta’s hand could be problematic, or figure out a way to work with Kenyatta and still put forth a message of justice.
Jendayi Frazer, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, said, “This is going to pose a very awkward situation. Kenyatta knows he needs the United States, and the United States knows it needs Kenya.” Some even say that the United States needs Kenya more than Kenya needs the United States.
The Obama Administration has refused to talk about the situation, only saying, in the words of President Obama, “The choice of who will lead Kenya is up to the Kenyan people.” Once Kenyatta is announced President, the United States and its allies must proceed very cautiously.
– Angela Hooks