Clinton urges Kenya to hold free, fair elections
Nairobi (Alshahid)-US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton arrived in Nairobi Saturday for a meeting with Kenyan leaders and sounded Washington’s strongest warning ever that a repeat of the 2007 Presidential vote-related violence would not be tolerated.
“We urge that the nation come together and prepare for elections that will be a real model for the entire world,” Clinton said Saturday after talks with President Mwai Kibaki in Nairobi on the latest leg of her Africa tour.
Clinton said Kenya had the potential to prove its democratic maturity and be an international model for free, fair and transparent elections. But she made clear that further election unrest would damage Kenya’s economy and global standing.
“Not only is this important for the people of Kenya, but the eyes of the world will be on this election,” Clinton told civic leaders and members of Kenya’s electoral commission after meetings with President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and parliament speaker.
“I have absolute confidence that Kenya has a chance to be a model for other nations, not just here in Africa but around the world,” she said. “On the other hand, the unrest that can result from a disputed election has a terrible cost both in lives lost and in economic impact.”
Kenya’s current president and prime minister were rivals in the disputed 2007 poll which triggered inter-ethnic violence. More than 1,200 people were killed.