The White House on Saturday congratulated President-Elect Uhuru Kenyatta “on behalf of the president and the people of the United States.”
US President Barack Obama’s spokesman also congratulated the Kenyan people for “the peaceful conduct of the election” and commended Prime Minister Raila Odinga for “accepting the Supreme Court’s decision.”
“We urge all Kenyans to peacefully accept the results of the election,” said the statement by President Obama’s press secretary. “The electoral process and the peaceful adjudication of disputes in the Kenyan legal system are testaments to the progress Kenya has made in strengthening its democratic institutions, and the desire of the Kenyan people to move their country forward.”
Although the White House placed emphasis on the US wish to continue close relations with Kenya, the statement also underscored “the importance of Kenya’s commitment to uphold its international obligations, including those with respect to international justice”, an indirect reference to the charges that Mr Kenyatta and Deputy President-elect William Ruto are facing at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
There was no mention in the statement of the negative “consequences” for US-Kenya relations that the State Department’s top Africa diplomat, Mr Johnnie Carson, had suggested as a possibility in event of a victory by Mr Kenyatta.
The UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, also sent his congratulatory messages to Mr Kenyatta in a telephone call on Saturday.
Mr Ban also spoke with Mr Odinga. According to a UN spokesman, Mr Ban commended Mr Odinga for accepting the Supreme Court’s ruling that confirmed Mr Kenyatta victory in the March 4 election.
“The secretary-general wishes the newly-elected government and people of Kenya every success in meeting the many challenges and opportunities facing Kenya,” the UN spokesman said in a written statement. “The United Nations pledges its strong support.”
Family on holiday
In Nairobi, Mr Kenyatta said he remained behind as his immediate family proceeded on a holiday while he awaited the judgment of the Supreme Court on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, the President-elect told a congregation at St Austin’s Parish in Nairobi that he let his family members to proceed for Easter holiday without him due to uncertainties over whether the court would have allowed or disallowed his election as the fourth President of Kenya.
“As of yesterday I was not sure whether I would have been your president. I couldn’t join my family on holiday to wait for the court verdict,” Mr Kenyatta said. He urged Kenyans to remain peaceful promising to do his best to deliver on the promises he made during his campaign.
“I and my team will do all we can to improve the living standards for Kenyans and make life better as much as we can,” he said.
In Mombasa, Catholic Archbishop Boniface Lele yesterday praised Mr Odinga’s acceptance of the Supreme Court’s judgement, saying it showed he was a statesman.
While celebrating Easter Sunday Mass at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Archbishop Lele told Christians to emulate the PM by abiding by the rule of law and making Kenya a peaceful country.
“Countries that follow the rule of law progress and develop but those that lack it wallow in poverty and backwardness,” he said.
And in Homa Bay, Catholic Bishop Philip Anyolo welcomed Mr Odinga’s decision to accept the judgment of the Supreme Court, saying it would ensure stability in the country.
“I want to say that I am very grateful and was very impressed by the position the PM took after the ruling by the Supreme Court which clearly demonstrated that he is true statesman,” said Bishop Anyolo.
Meanwhile, Konoin MP Sammy Koech on Sunday welcomed the Supreme Court judgment in favour of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, saying it confirmed the will of the people of Kenya.
He said the judgment was an indication that Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission did a good job despite the many challenges it faced during the election process.
He also commended Mr Odinga for accepting the verdict and wishing Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto well in their new responsibilities.
Reported by Kevin J. Kelly, Mwakera Mwajefa, Isaaac Ongiri, Geoffrey Rono and Maurice Kaluoch