The US has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta and his National Super Alliance rival Raila Odinga to employ dialogue and iron out sticky issues surrounding the October 17th repeat presidential elections .
“All eyes were on Kenya” as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) invited President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga for a meeting, a top official in Trump's administration said.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US government’s Bureau of African Affairs Donald Yamamoto said the US had already engages the two Kenyan leaders, with a message that the world is watching.
Besides constant statements made by the US ambassador to Kenya, Mr Robert Godec, regarding the repeat poll, Yamamoto's message is probably the first time that a senior government official in the Donald Trump regime has publicly talked about it.
“Kenya’s on — probably on — the threshold of a great election on October 17, but it’s the issues that we need to focus on and work with ... the eyes of the world and the US government are on you, on Kenya,” he said.
Yamamoto was speaking while giving a speech on advancing common interests of US-African partnerships at the US Institute of Peace based in Washington, on Wednesday. The Bureau of African Affairs is run US Department of State and has a role of advising the Secretary of State on matters touching on Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We’re not going to take our eyes away from it (Kenya). Kenya matters. If our largest embassy is in Nairobi, Kenya, that means we have a stake in that country, and Africa has a stake, and this government’s looking at where the trend lines will go after October 17,” said Mr Yamamoto.
US has huge interests in Kenya, running from economic, social, political and security matters, especially in the fight against terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking.
At the height of the 2007 post-election violence, the US led the international community in advocating for mediation between President Mwai Kibaki of PNU who had been declared winner and his main opponent Raila Odinga.
US sent the then-Secretary of State, Ms Condoleezza Rice, to help broker a deal between the two sides so as to avert the violence, which eventually saw more than 1,100 people lose their lives and thousands others internally displaced.
IEBC remains positive that the meeting between Raila and Uhuru to be ar the Bomas of Kenya, will bear fruits after a similar meeting last week backfired.
.“I am positive that we are going to sit down and for the sake of the country, we shall come up with a solution to any issues that might be a roadblock to the holding of the elections on October 17,” IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said last week, before the commission confirmed the sending of the invites to the two protagonists on Twitter on Friday.