Does anyone think this is exactly NOT the way the US should be supporting democracy in Africa?
"The United States congratulates the winners and is calling for calm, and for Kenyans to abide by the results declared by the election commission. We support the commission's decision," said spokesman Robert McInturff. He reiterated a State Department statement from Saturday that asked Kenyans "to reject violence and respect the rule of law."
I'll admit i've only been following this over the past few days, but the recent Kenya election certainly would appear to be far from a free & fair one. EU monitoring officials expressing significant concerns, initial results showing opposition challenger Odinga winning were overtaken by Kibaki at the last minute, slow election result reporting, the Kenyan government bans national news television broadcasts...
and the US State Department is congratulating the election winner?
What. The. Fuck?!?
Perhaps this was an inaccurate report of our country's representatives in this situation... i sure as hell hope so. Otherwise it sounds like we're passively supporting yet another not-quite-democratically-elected African leader.
Someone please explain to me how we could be screwing up US foreign policy any more than we have in the past 6-7 years. Sigh.
UPDATE: the New York Times has an interesting report of the Kenya election commission's decision to certify the results, rejecting recommendations from Western diplomats (incl. the US ambassador) to recount votes & investigate:
75 of the 210 constituencies — meaning more than one-third of the vote — had serious question marks and that the election chairman initially agreed to investigate. But later on Sunday he changed his mind.
Kenya is a close American ally, and a team of Western diplomats, including the American ambassador, tried for hours to persuade election officials to recount the votes. One Western ambassador said they knew that if the dubious results were certified and the president declared the winner based on them, Kenya would plunge into crisis. But the commission would not budge.
“The government was determined to hold onto power,” said the ambassador, who did not want to be identified because he said he feared reprisals from the Kenyan government.
If the above account is accurate, it seems hard to understand why the State Department would knowingly congratulate the winner of a likely fraudulent election process.
side note: i'm a supporter of Unitus, and one of the microfinance groups Unitus has funded is Jamii Bora in Nairobi. they've made incredible progress in helping make business, education, and housing microloans to over 100,000 working poor in Kenya.
if you want to make a real difference for someone, i encourage you to support Unitus and other microfinance organizations around the world.