President Uhuru Kenyatta has publicly claimed external powers are seeking to influence the 2017 Presidential poll results even as he pledged to concede if he is defeated in the epic race.
The Head of State at the same time gave his strongest hint yet that Kenya may join other countries in withdrawing from the ICC – an institution many have credited with the peaceful general election in 2013.
Speaking when he led the country in commemorating Kenya’s 52nd Independence Day, Uhuru said some global powers are bankrolling regime change in Kenya “in the guise of supporting good governance or civic education”.
Uhuru said the true intent of the donor countries is to influence Kenya’s electoral choices.
“I want to caution those members of the international community taking these actions that the Kenyan people do not look kindly on such actions,” he warned during the fete at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, attended by Togo’s President Faure Eyadéma Gnassingbé.
“I urge all Kenyans to reject such interference. This is our country, and no one should ever try and control our choices for their selfish interests.”
Making reference to claims that Russia interfered in the US Presidential election by hacking into party and personal computers, Uhuru said Kenyans have the right to make choices free of external interference.
The broadside appeared targeted at a resurgent civil society, a thorn in the flesh of the Jubilee administration.
Expert comment: President’s speech was hollow
Previously, Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe had claimed that unnamed politicians are seeking funding from political players in the region to destabilise the Jubilee administration.
The initial government target was thought to be Opposition chief Raila Odinga, who spearheaded numerous street protests to force out the IEBC bosses.
As the President fired the warning salvo in his written Address to the Nation, police in the CBD, barely a kilometre from the Nyayo Stadium, fired teargas to disperse protesters, mainly civil society activists, who had taken to the streets to denounce high level graft in government.
Uhuru made little mention of the graft allegations levelled against his administration in recent years and months.
He said he has achieved what Kenyans elected him to do.
For the first time, Uhuru said he will no longer shy away from making reference to the successes of the National Youth Service’s programmes, despite the Sh1.8 billion NYS scandal.
He said Kenyans should draw a clear distinction between the positive impact of the NYS programmes and the deplorable mismanagement of the past.
Uhuru exuded confidence that Kenyans would give him a second chance in office.
“I believe I have earned their support. I believe that, next year, they will give me a second and final term in an open and transparent election,” the President said.
He said Kenyans would have the final say on who becomes the country’s next Commander-in-Chief. He remains the only Presidential candidate in the multiparty era in Kenya who has ever conceded defeat – at the 2002 polls won by Narc’s Mwai Kibaki.
“I will accept the electoral choice of Kenyans in all humility, and give my congratulations, and my full co-operation, to the man or woman of their choice,” he promised.
Meanwhile, and without any reference to the Jubilee administration in a statement issued to media on Jamhuri Day Eve, Raila said Kenyans should commit to begin the work of building the nation anew and build a better country devoid of corruption, tribalism and exclusion.
“On this Jamhuri Day, we would particularly do well to reflect on how the evils of corruption, tribalism and the politics and economics of marginalisation and exclusion have frustrated the goals our fathers identified at Independence; to eradicate poverty, ignorance and disease,” Raila said.
Raila has previously insisted that Jubilee is the most corrupt government in independent Kenya.
Yesterday, Uhuru revisited the controversial issue of the ICC and criticised The Hague-based court as a tool of global power politics and not the justice it was built to dispense.
Uhuru hinted heavily Kenya may join the list of countries withdrawing from the global court.
Already Gambia, South Africa and Burundi have announced their withdrawal from the institution set up to try the world’s worst crimes, as has Russia.
“We have started to see many more nations openly recognising that the ICC is not impartial. Some have withdrawn. Others have considered that step . . . We have sought changes that will align the ICC to respect for national sovereignty. Those changes have not been forthcoming. We will therefore need to give serious thought to our membership,” Uhuru said.
Twice, Parliament has passed motions to withdraw from ICC, which almost stopped Uhuru and Ruto from ascending to the country’s top leadership in cases of crimes against humanity that lasted five years and then collapsed.
Uhuru also used the final Jamhuri Day address of his first term to set the tempo for his reelection as he counted several projects he said his administration had successfully achieved.
He said every child from standard one to standard three will have access to digital learning devices beginning next year.