By David Ochami
The US Government has defended its quick recognition of President Kibaki’s controversial win of the disputed December 2007 presidential election.
However, US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger admitted that to date the US was not sure who won the election. Mr Ranneberger on Sunday said power sharing between ODM and PNU had not brought the desired dividend against impunity and corruption.
“The election was disputed. We did our best to get to the bottom of it. It is almost impossible to say who won,” he said.
The envoy spoke on the second anniversary of the signing of the National Accord and disputed perceptions that former Under Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer’s intervention at initial stages of the post-election crisis favoured Kibaki’s win.
Addressing the Press in Addis Ababa in 2008, Dr Frazer suggested that opposition supporters in Rift Valley were cleansing Kibaki’s tribesmen from the region. She later retracted the reference a few days after Ranneberger led the US’ recognition of Kibaki’s disputed win. As violence spiralled across the country, the US withdrew the recognition.
On Sunday, Ranneberger claimed Frazer’s statements and US recognition was forced by circumstances.
He said the US had little recourse after the Electoral Commission of Kenya declared Kibaki winner.
“We knew there was no possibility of a recount in the circumstances,” the envoy said, adding that after violence broke out, the US led foreign powers in calling for AU mediation and a negotiated settlement.
Two years later and the same ambassador giving similar answers to the same questions, about events from two years ago. I think it is fair to say that he hasn’t been particularly persuasive.
HT to DS in Nairobi