America’s President George W Bush yesterday spoke directly about the post-election chaos, saying the US supports efforts by Kenya’s “robust media and civil society” to hold the country’s political leaders to account.
In a statement released by the White House, President Bush called on the Government and the Orange Democratic Movement to enter a dialogue in good faith. The two sides should seek to “earn back the trust of the Kenyan people, who deserve a political process that reflects their dedication to democracy,” the American leader said.
Mr Bush also welcomed the mediation of African Union chairman John Kufuor, who is also Ghana’s President.
The President noted the Government’s acknowledgment of irregularities in the December 27 voting. But Mr Bush gave no indication of whether the United States favours an independent review of the vote count or whether a new election should be held.
US presidential candidate Barack Obama has also been speaking out on the Kenya crisis.
While campaigning yesterday in the state of New Hampshire, the Kenyan-American politician said he had spoken by telephone with ODM leader Raila Odinga the previous day. Senator Obama said he was also trying to arrange a conversation with President Kibaki.
In his talk with Mr Odinga, “what I urged was that all the leaders there, regardless of their position on the election, tell their supporters to stand down, to desist with the violence and resolve it in a peaceful way in accordance with Kenyan law,” Senator Obama said.
On the same day, the US State Department expressed disappointment with President Kibaki’s decision to appoint a new Cabinet.
“Today’s step, especially on the eve of President Kufuor arriving in Kenya – it’s disappointing,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at a Press briefing in Washington.
“That doesn’t mean that they can’t find a solution here,” he added, “and that we are not going to in any way diminish our efforts to help them find a solution.”
Mr McCormack also deplored the “needless loss of life” in the aftermath of the election.