Kenya to seek clarify from U.S. over stand on ICC suspects

2013-02-08 18:47:45 GMT2013-02-09 02:47:45(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Chrispinus Omar and Robert Manyara

NAIROBI, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government said on Friday that it would seek clarification from the U.S. government over their future relations, should one of the presidential candidates facing charges at the world court wins presidential elections next month.

Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia said the latest remarks by America's top envoy for Africa Johnnie Carson contract remarks made by President Barack Obama last Tuesday.

"The foreign ministry will seek clarification from the U.S. on the relations between the countries after the March 4 general elections," Kimemia told journalists in Nairobi.

He said the government was compelled to seek clarification on the true stand by Washington after Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Johnnie Carson's Thursday warning that the choice Kenyans make in the elections will have consequences.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who is seeking the presidency on a Jubilee Alliance ticket and his running mate William Ruto are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC.

The charges stem from the 2007/2008 post election violence in which 1,200 people were killed and 650,000 displaced from their homes.

In a video message to Kenyans on Tuesday, President Obama had assured Kenyans that Washington will not endorse any presidential candidate in the general elections.

Ambassador Carson, however, in a teleconference on Thursday, warned Kenyans that the choice they will make on March 4 will have consequences.

Speaking to Kenyan journalists from Washington via video link, Carson warned that as much as the general election is a Kenyan affair, its outcome will have implications since a president "must work with the international community."

"Individuals have reputations; individuals have images, histories and reputations. When they are selected to lead their countries, those reputations do not go away from them, they are not separated," Carson said.

"We as the United States do not have a candidate or a choice in the elections; however, choices have consequences, we live in an interconnected world and people should be thoughtful about the impact their choices have on their nation, economy, region and the world in which they live," he advised.

The March elections are the first under Kenya's new constitution, promulgated in 2010 in a bid to promote devolution. Kenyans will vote for a president and a host of local positions in 47 newly created counties.

On Friday, the French government also cautioned Kenyans against consequences of their choices in the upcoming general elections.

France ambassador to Kenya Etienne De Poncins told journalists in Kisumu that while his country is not interested in the result of the March 4 elections, the process and the outcome will have consequences based on the characters elected.

"There will be consequences, based on characters elected. Many programs and international relations will also be determined by who Kenyans choose," Poncins said.

"It's not a surprise. The choice of leaders to be elected will greatly determine the place of Kenyan with other countries within and outside the continent," the envoy said.

The ambassador who held a meeting with members of the civil society organizations in Kisumu on their view and French position in the coming election also said his country will not take side with any coalition.

The ambassador challenged the entire presidential candidate to declare their commitments towards a free and transparent process and their will to concede defeat.

"They can take advantage of the presidential debate to pledge their commitment towards a free and fair election. That will be very much appreciated with the population," said the ambassador.

He called on all candidates to accept defeat as that is the core principle of democracy. "It is very difficult to concede defeat but is also democratic to concede defeat as part of moral obligation and the character of the individuals."

The ambassador revealed that his country are in support of the stand taken by the American government to have all electoral disputes solved in court since the country's judicial system has now reformed unlike before when it was under questions.

"France will stick to the EU stand to respect the ICC, and the member countries in relation to ICC suspects," said Poncins.

The French envoy's remarks come as the third Western country after Britain and U.S. that cautioned Kenyans on the consequences of electing candidates who are facing criminal charges at the world court.

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