US Ambassador Meg Whiteman hails Kenya’s 2022 polls
US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman has hailed the level of democracy in Kenya.
Speaking in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, at the opening day of the Devolution Conference on August 16, 2023, the diplomat stressed that the 2022 presidential elections were held in a free, fair and transparent manner.
“I arrived in Kenya days before the August 2022 general election. What I witnessed was nothing short of remarkable. Kenya held what many analysts and commentators say was the freest, fairest and most remarkable election in Kenyan history,” Ambassador Whitman said.
She said the polls were observed by international and local observers and the courts upheld the results.
She also based her position on the peaceful transfer of power from outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta to his successor, President William Ruto.
Her comments come amid protests on the process and outcome of the election from the opposition led by Raila Odinga, which has led to the formation of a 10-member committee to spearhead talks aimed at breaking the deadlock between the president and the opposition leader.
President Ruto won the election, with Mr Odinga coming a close second.
Mr Odinga contested the polls and filed a case at the Supreme Court. He was not successful.
Ms Meghman’s position on Kenya’s political scene comes after months of anti-government protests that have disrupted business in many parts of the country, including Nairobi and Kisumu, as the opposition side demands changes in the electoral body and the opening of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commision (IEBC) server, which they claim will reveal the winner of the presidential seat.
The President and the opposition side are hoping the stalemate will be unlocked and allow both the two sides to work together to fulfill the government’s agenda.
According to the Opposition Chief Mr Odinga, the talks will not be about power sharing deal, but rather to address issues about the common citizen including lowering the cost of living.
At the same time, the US Ambassador stated that Kenya is the gateway to East Africa, with 80 percent of regional trade passing through its port in Mombasa.
“In addition Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi is the busiest airport in in East Africa served by 40 passenger airlines, and 25 cargo carriers, including FedEx and DHL.”
She added that the country has some excellent infrastructure such as the Standard Gauge Railway, new roads and modern ports.
The conference is the first for President Ruto as the sitting president following his win in August, and coincidentally, the conference is being held in his backyard.