August 9

Envoy urges Kenya to deliver free, fair polls

Monday, August 8th, 2022 03:31 | By
US ambassador to Kenya Maragaret Whitman during the 24th anniversary of the terrorists attacks of August 7, 1998 at the August 7 Memorial Park in Nairobi, yesterday. PD/john ochieng
US ambassador to Kenya Maragaret Whitman during the 24th anniversary of the terrorists attacks of August 7, 1998 at the August 7 Memorial Park in Nairobi, yesterday. PD/John Ochieng

The United States administration is keen to ensure the country delivers a free and fair election, and also avert any post elections fracas, the new US ambassador to Kenya Margaret ‘Meg’ Whitman has said. 

She however said that Kenyans and their government bear the greatest responsibility of running and delivering free and fair elections by defending democracy. 

Whitman, in her maiden address after being confirmed as the US representative to Kenya, said that President Joe Biden’s administration has accelerated efforts to strengthen the nation’s ties with Nairobi, which have in the recent past been under threat from China.

Peaceful elections

Whitman told reporters that US has been playing a supportive role and running programs to ensure that the elections do not trigger any chaos and that the outcome will be as per the will of the majority.

“We play a  supportive role to the Kenyan government to run violent free elections. But we cannot take responsibility for that, we can only be helpful in our long-term relationship and it’s up to Kenyans to run violent free elections. We are playing our supportive role, we are running programs but ultimately, this is a Kenyan election by Kenyans and run by the Kenyan government,” Whitman said. 

She added, “As a long-term friend, the United States supports free, fair and peaceful elections and I am confident that the relationship built between US and Kenya over time will continue to blossom regardless of the outcome of the elections.” 

She stated the US government has taken a neutral position on the Kenyan elections, adding that the recent travel advisory in Kisumu has nothing to do with it’s assumption on the poll outcome. 

“The reason we issued an alert on Kisumu is because it has the second largest population of Americans outside Nairobi. Let me underscore that this does not reflect on the US views of the Kenyan elections,” she said. 

Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi released a routine security alert ahead of tomorrow’s elections.

“Alerts of this nature to American citizens are common ahead of elections throughout the world, and the United States has no information to suggest the security situation in Kisumu, or in any other parts of Kenya, have been adversely affected by election preparations. Kisumu hosts a significant number of U.S. embassy personnel and is a frequent travel destination for American citizens,” the embassy stated. 

Whitman said during her tenure, she will focus on strengthening the ties been Nairobi and Washington DC and further develop policies that will boost trade between the two countries. 

“My business background can be very helpful to both our countries for improved economy, trade and development. I do think that this business background will bring new information and energy to boosting trade between the two countries,” she said. 

Trade Partnership

Whitman added, “The US trade and investment partnership is a good framework to build on the trade partnership between the United States and Kenya. There is more that we can do and I am particularly focused on Kenyan export to the United States, US exports to Kenya and US foreign investment to Kenya”.

Regarding the delay by the embassy in insurance of Visas, she said, “We need to find ways to accelerate those applications and get people the Visas they need. I will be working closely with the staff here at the embassy to see how we can deal with that as fast as possible but let me underscore that that is not acceptable and we need to fix it”.

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