, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – The United States has congratulated President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto following Tuesday’s inauguration for a second term.
In the congratulatory note dated November 28, the State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said America remained committed to working with Kenya to further socio-economic development not just in the country but also the region.
“The United States and Kenya have been steadfast partners for decades, working together to strengthen security, build mutual prosperity, address regional challenges, and to advance development and good governance,” Nauert said.
She urged Kenyans to come together and address existing divisions among different communities and political groups so as to chart a united path moving forward.
Nauert noted with concern the escalating political tensions in the country which have often resulted in loss of lives and property, and asked security services to use minimum force while dispersing protesters.
“We urge security forces to refrain from the use of unnecessary force against citizens exercising their democratic rights,” the statement read.
“As part of the process of addressing these tensions and strengthening institutions, we urge Kenyans to join together to hold an immediate, sustained, and open national conversation to heal divisions between communities,” it further read.
Above all, the US urged for peace asking all citizens to uphold the Constitution.
“We encourage all Kenyans to come together at this critical moment and to work together peacefully and uphold the constitution,” Nauert stated.
The State Department also assured that the US government will continue working “with all Kenyans committed to building democracy, advancing prosperity, and strengthening security.”
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed a similar congratulatory message at State House Nairobi on Tuesday where he joined President Kenyatta for a State luncheon.
Netanyahu who missed out on the inauguration ceremony at Kasarani after Israel’s security service – Shin Bet – failed to clear his travel over security concerns in light of the anticipated massive gathering in Kasarani said in his remarks that his country will continue to work closely with Kenya and Africa.
Netanyahu reiterated a message captured in his congratulatory dispatch on November 2 in which he welcomed President Kenyatta to Jerusalem to reciprocate the very warm reception he was accorded while in Nairobi last year.
“You have continued (Uhuru) not only in the tradition of your father (Mzee Jomo Kenyatta) in advancing your country but also advancing the friendship with Israel,” Netanyahu said at the State luncheon.
Among other projects, Netanyahu said Israel will work with Kenya on drought mitigation, electricity generation and the war against terrorism.
“Israel believes that we can better lives for people everywhere but first in Africa,” he said while urging heads of States at the luncheon to support Israel in its quest to acquire an observer status at the African Union.
Tuesday’s was Netanyahu’s second visit to Kenya in a period of eighteen months having visited in July 2016 during which tour he made stops in Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.
The luncheon was attended by over ten leaders who attended the inauguration ceremony in Kasarani.
They included Presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Edgar Lungu (Zambia), Ian Khama (Botswana), Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan), Ismaïl Omar Guelleh Muhammed (Djibouti), Ali Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), Hage Geingob (Namibia), Abdullahi Farmajo (Somalia), Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Guinea’s Prime Minister Mamady Youla.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria was represented at the event by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
John Magufuli of Tanzania was represented by Vice President Samia Suluhu.
Former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete and ex-Prime Minister Edward Lowassa were also guests at the luncheon.