Britain and the US have pledged to work with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his administration amid apprehension that Kenya’s reaction to the cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) could isolate the country.
Though they avoided direct references to the ICC cases and even to the court, British High Commissioner Christian Turner and US ambassador Robert Godec made a blanket vow to “stand with Kenya”.
The two diplomats made oblique references to Uhuru’s Sunday remarks, with Godec emphasising the US’s commitment to “the rule of law” and to countries “meeting their international obligations”.
Turner too spoke about lessons from the past, which show that “you cannot have lasting peace without justice, accountability and reconciliation”. They were speaking at a meeting with MPs at Leisure Lodge in Kwale just days after the National Assembly approved a motion to pull Kenya out of the Rome Statute – the legal regime that set up the ICC.
Uhuru, one of those wanted at the ICC to answer to charges of crimes against humanity in the 2007 post-election violence, postponed his date with the MPs at the last minute.
The President’s advance team was already at the venue, and had even prepared his podium and a special seat, only for the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi to inform the MPs that the President had rescheduled the meeting with the lawmakers to tomorrow.
Muturi said something urgent had come up in Nairobi, which made it impossible for the Head of State to travel to Kwale County.
But the ambassadors had kind words for the Jubilee administration, and tried indirectly to pour cold water on the political trepidation about the possibility of both Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto being at The Hague at the same time. “I don’t think Kenya faces impossible odds. But I do think the challenges ahead are tough. Nevertheless, I am confident Kenyans can meet them. As I have often said, Kenya is a great country and Kenyans are a great people,” said Godec.