African leaders offer advice on Kenya's political crisis

Tuesday November 28 2017

President Yoweri Museveni

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni addresses Kenyans during President Uhuru Kenyatta's inauguration at Kasarani Stadium on November 28, 2017. He urged the country to foster peace. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PATRICK LANG'AT
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Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday said Africa was glad that the electoral stalemate in the country had ended and asked Kenya to go back to work.

He said that the recent elections had taken too long and made the African continent worried.

“We are very happy that this process has come to an end. We can only urge you to go back to work,” President Lungu said.

Speaking at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration for his second and final term following a protracted political process, he added:

“We were worried as your friends because this process took too long. And we hope you will think about it in future.”

SUPREME COURT
Presidential Kenyatta surmounted two sets of petitions at the Supreme Court, a nullified August 8 victory and a disputed October 26 repeat poll boycotted by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to be sworn in.

President Lungu had earlier spoken about the historic September 1 Supreme Court ruling against President Kenyatta’s election — the first in Africa and only the fourth in the world — asking Zambian judges not to copy their Kenyan counterparts.

“People are saying Zambian courts should emulate Kenyan courts,” President Lungu was quoted as saying just after Mr Odinga’s withdrawal from the repeat election.

“People are saying Zambian courts should be brave and make decisions that are in the interest of the people, but look at what’s happening in Kenya now.

“I am saying the courts of law in Zambia should also see what’s happening.

"They should not behave like they are not part of our African continent. The most important thing I can say now is, 2021, I am available to stand if my party chooses me.”

CRISIS
President Lungu’s eligibility for the 2021 poll is being challenged by critics, who argue that he is serving his second and final term.

However, other African heads of state congratulated Kenya for withstanding the pressure and the political overtones.

“I am very pleased to be an African today. You people of Kenya have made us proud. And I want to bring you a message of peace, love and solidarity,” President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon said.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni uncharacteristically avoided Kenyan politics in his brief speech.

PEACE

Said President Museveni, donning his signature hat: “Congratulations for a well-run election and for keeping the peace.

“Now, remember four things: Peace, prosperity, development and politics. Do not think of politics alone and forget about the three other things.”

At the 2013 ceremony, President Museveni, often referred to as Mzee (elder) by the Jubilee government, hit out at the West for what he said was an attempt to block President Kenyatta’s presidency over his then-pending case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

DIGNITARIES
And as he spoke on Tuesday, many in the crowd, it appears, wanted him to put his mind on the Kenyan context.

Heads of state and government at the event also included Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Ian Khama of Botswana, Djibouti’s Isma?l Omar Guelleh, Namibia’s Hage Geingob, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini and former presidents Rupiah Banda (Zambia) and Thabo Mbeki (South Africa).