US congratulates Uhuru, recommend talks with opposition

The United States (US) has congratulated the people of Kenya on the conclusion of the presidential election process and expressed concern over the ongoing political tension. In a statement issued by the Heather Nauert, the department Spokesperson in Washington DC on Tuesday after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration amidst defiance from the Opposition that it will not recognise him, the US has called for dialogue to end the impasse.

The US government commended the President and Deputy President William Ruto on their installation for a second term in office. In particular, the US government urged security forces to refrain from the use of unnecessary force against citizens exercising their democratic rights. “As part of the process of addressing these tensions and strengthening institutions, we urge Kenyans to join together to hold an immediate, sustained, and open national conversation to heal divisions between communities,” reads the statement. It continues, “We encourage all Kenyans to come together at this critical moment and to work together peacefully and uphold the constitution.”
President Kenyatta in his inaugural speech at Kasarani stadium asked every Kenyan to pledge to reject the politics of division, hate and violence, and instead take the higher, more sacred road, of working to build your community and our beloved country Kenya. He has also reached out to National Supper Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga to dialogue and work together after a polarising electioneering period last over four months. “The election was not a contest between a good dream and a bad dream; it was a contest between two competing visions. I believe that those who voted for me chose the better vision,” said the President. He added, “This, however, does not invalidate the aspirations of those who did not vote for me.”

The US emphasized on its long ties with Kenya which she is keen to enhance. “The US and Kenya have been steadfast partners for decades, working together to strengthen security, build mutual prosperity, address regional challenges, and to advance development and good governance,” reads the message. US noted that even as she looks forward to strengthening and renewing the bilateral partnership in the years ahead, they are deeply concerned by the ongoing political tensions in Kenya. The US stated that as a friend, it will continue to work with all Kenyans committed to building democracy, advancing prosperity, and strengthening security. Ambassador Robert Godec led the US delegation to the swearing in ceremony. Also, the president received congratulatory messages from dignitaries representing the UK, India, Japan, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Angola and Guinea at Statehouse on Tuesday during the luncheon. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was the chief guest at the luncheon.

Kenyatta lauded the friendship between Kenya and Israel, especially in the areas of agriculture, technology transfer and security which are all crucial to the fulfillment of the mandate that our people have given us to make their lives better and safer. Netanyahu on his part, confirmed that Israel will intensify her cooperation with Kenya even as she seeks to restore her status in the African Union (AU) observer mission. Immediately the President assumed office, he got down to work and held bilateral talks with Presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Edgar Lungu (Zambia) and Hage Geingob (Namibia) on a number of issues to enhance ties.

Compiled by Collins Gathogo.

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