What Kenya’s Election Means for America

Kenya just recently held a presidential election. You might have heard about it, because Western journalists were parachuting in, hoping for bloodshed and general anarchy. See, back in 2007 after Kenya’s elections, there was a bit of post-election violence, where around 1,000 people died. Kenya is a fairly stable country, located in east Africa. The military just recently did the world a favor by kicking the heck out of al Shabaab in Somalia, and the economy in Kenya is dominant in East Africa. Kenya is important to the world and the America. So, when the post election violence happened in 2007, there was surprise from the international community, and of course the ICC stepped in an leveled charges at those considered at fault.

Basically, the elections in 2007 were stolen. So Uhuru Kenyatta and a group of others ‘organized’ ethnic violence. Kenyatta was charged by the ICC, and stands to face trail. But now he is the President of Kenya. There is only one other Head of State that is wanted by the ICC, and that is Sudan’s Bashir. However, Kenyatta won the election with just over 50% of the vote and Kenyans voted peacefully. Odinga (the main challenger) said for no one to be violent, they would charge the outcome in the courts.

The US State Department issued a vague ‘congrats to those who won’ statement after the election of Kenyatta, and the west in general didn’t throw any parties for him. Yet, the West can’t stand to shut Kenya out of the community as it has done Bashir. Kenya is a stable, thriving nation that has long been dominate in East African affairs. Kenya took in all the refugees fleeing the Somali drought, Kenya kicked around al Shabaab, Kenya is the dominant economy in the region. In order for America to have good relations in East Africa, the US needs Kenya.

Kenyatta will have his days in court, and he might even be acquitted. He might be found guilty. Regardless of how the US feels about those facing trail with the ICC, the White House and State Dept need a working relationship with the Kenyan government. It would be unwise for the US to sanction Kenya- after all, Kenyans stood in line for hours to vote in an open, free, and fair election. For the west to outright reject the choice of millions would be a slap in the face to both Kenya and democracy.

Oh, and I think someone tell CNN they need to apologize to Kenya for hyping up the threat of violence. Democracy does exist in Africa, and not every election has a bad outcome. Even if the US doesn’t like Kenyatta, he is the president now. He won an election, after all.

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