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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More