News / Africa

Western Envoys to Attend ICC Indictee Kenyatta's Inauguration

Kenya's presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta (C) and his running mate William Ruto (2nd L) celebrate winning the presidential election with supporters after the official result was released in Nairobi, March 9, 2013.Kenya's presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta (C) and his running mate William Ruto (2nd L) celebrate winning the presidential election with supporters after the official result was released in Nairobi, March 9, 2013.
x
Kenya's presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta (C) and his running mate William Ruto (2nd L) celebrate winning the presidential election with supporters after the official result was released in Nairobi, March 9, 2013.
Kenya's presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta (C) and his running mate William Ruto (2nd L) celebrate winning the presidential election with supporters after the official result was released in Nairobi, March 9, 2013.
Reuters
The United States and several other European nations are expecting to send ambassadors to attend the swearing in next week of Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya's president-elect who is indicted for crimes against humanity at The Hague.

Western diplomats said this level of attendance was in line with their policy of having only "essential contacts" with indictees of the International Criminal Court. A European Union official also said EU envoys were seeking to meet Kenyatta.

Western nations have to strike a delicate balance, adhering to their oft-stated policy that will limit contacts with Kenyatta while ensuring a trade partner and a nation seen as vital to stability in a volatile region does not swivel toward China and other Asian states as they expand their influence.

Kenyatta, charged with helping orchestrate the bloodshed that followed the disputed 2007 election, is due to be sworn in on Tuesday. His election victory was confirmed on Saturday after a court dismissed a legal challenge to the March 4 vote result.

"We expect to be represented by Ambassador [Robert] Godec," said Christopher Snipes, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, in a brief statement.

Diplomats and officials said Germany, France and the European Union delegation in Nairobi also expected to send ambassadors. A diplomat from another European state said his ambassador was likely to go, but declined to be identified.

Kenyatta's aides and many of his supporters were angry when the United States and European officials spelled out their policy of limiting contacts during campaigning, saying it smacked of intervention. Diplomats denied any such intention.

U.S. Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Washington's top diplomat to Africa, before the vote cautioned that "choices have consequences" - widely seen in Kenya seen as a clear hint about America's preferred outcome.

'Clear the air'

The issue sparked speculation in Kenya's media and comments by some politicians suggesting the West was threatening sanctions if Kenyatta won, a charge Western states dismissed.

A European Union spokesman said EU envoys were seeking a meeting with Kenyatta to congratulate him on his election and to "clear the air around allegations of sanctions. No one is talking of sanctions." He did not give a time for any meeting.

Officials in China and India, two nations with expanding ties and investment in Africa, said their capitals had yet to determine who would represent them at the swearing in. African nations are expected to send high-level delegates.

Western diplomats had said there was some latitude in how to interpret "essential contacts." But they also said much would depend on the level of cooperation shown to the court by Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, who also faces charges.

Analysts said Western businesses also may put pressure on their governments to avoid losing their foothold in Kenya or to prevent any harm from coming to investment plans in a nation that could be at the center of an oil and gas boom in East Africa.

"That is why Europe is back pedaling a bit," said Patrick Smith of Africa Confidential, a journal published every two weeks. He added that handling ties with Kenyatta's government "is going to be a real test of diplomatic and commercial skills."

Kenya is a big beneficiary of Western aid, however, and far more of its exports head to Europe than to China, which analysts say means it also will be eager to keep good ties with the West under U.S.-educated Kenyatta.

Kenyatta and Ruto both have denied the accusations against them and have pledged to clear their names. After his election win was declared, Kenyatta said his government would cooperate with international institutions, words seen as reassuring the West.

When the United States and Europeans congratulated Kenyatta on his victory after court ruling, they welcomed his commitment to meeting international obligations.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs