By Magdalene Mukami
The US on Tuesday said that it was shocked by Kenya’s termination of a 2 billion Kenya shillings (roughly $20 million) US funded civic electoral education program after claims of the US planning to influence the country’s 2017 General elections.
Days after Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta claimed that external powers were planning to influence next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, the East African nation canceled the USAID-funded program dubbed "Kenya Electoral Assistance program, KEAP 2017."
Through ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, the US on Monday affirmed that it had no plans to meddle in the country’s 2017 elections and it is rather disappointed by the Kenyan government’s attempts to discredit its efforts to assist Kenyans to have free and fair elections.
“We are disappointed by the attempt to discredit the United States’ efforts to assist Kenyans in the conduct of free, fair, peaceful, and credible elections in 2017,” US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Our assistance was requested by the Government of Kenya and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), adheres strictly to Kenyan law and regulations, and is provided under careful oversight by the Government of Kenya, IEBC-The Independent Electoral Board-, and USAID. We do this important work transparently without favoring any party or candidate,” Godec added.
The US called on Kenyans to focus on the issue at hand “ensuring that the voice of the Kenyan people is heard and respected in the upcoming elections."
On Monday, Kenya’s Ministry of Devolution and Planning had written a letter to the US embassy, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems among other stakeholders informing them that the country had suspended the multimillion-dollar program.
Kenyan president during the country's celebration of Jamhuri Day on Dec. 12 warned that there was "money coming into Kenya from abroad in the guise of supporting good governance or civic education. However, its true intention is to influence our electoral choices.”