Concerns mount for Azimio-Kenya Kwanza talks amid Ruto, Raila rift over US envoy

US Ambassador Meg Whitman’s claims that Kenya’s 2022 general election was the freest, fairest and most credible in the country’s history have become the cause of political tremors.

President William Ruto is now defending the diplomat who has become the face of an opposition-led storm after Raila Odinga told her to shut up and stay out of Kenyan affairs.

“The American ambassador made two statements of fact. She said the last election was the freest and fairest in Kenya’s history, which is a statement of fact. She said Kenya is open for business, which is also a statement of fact. And then surely there is some decency and respect for ourselves as we demand respect from others,” President Ruto said.

On Friday, President Ruto met with Delaware Senator Christopher Coons at State House in what is believed to have been a discussion on talks between Kenya Kwanza and Azimo to calm the political situation in the country.

Ambassador Whitman was present at State House during the meeting. It is unclear whether Whitman’s views were also discussed, but their body language suggests a rosy relationship between President Ruto and Whitman, a relationship perhaps confirmed by the views of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua miles away in Eldoret.

“As a private citizen, how can you recall an Ambassador? You cannot even transfer an assistant chief in your local sub-location. You know it’s part of the denial syndrome,” said DP Gachagua.

Responding to Raila’s view that the US envoy was a “rogue” diplomat, President Ruto said introspection was needed to determine who fit the bill.

“Between the people who are orchestrating the destruction of property and sabotaging our economy and those who are working with us to create investment opportunities and investment capital for the people of Kenya. Between those two, I was wondering who is actually rogue. I think that is for the people of Kenya to judge,” he said.

And now there are fears that Whitman’s sentiments, and the push and pull they have generated, could have an impact on the Kenyan Kwanza-Azimio talks.

The opposition is already voicing its displeasure, with Azimio leader Eugine Wamalwa challenging the US ambassador.

“Let her allow us to dialogue as Kenyans, to solve our problems as Kenyans. Let her not be a cheerleader for UDA and William Ruto, she must remain neutral.

America, through Delaware Senator Chris Coons, has been instrumental in pushing for a ceasefire between the two sides, and as its ambassador, those supporting the opposition see Whitman’s statement as a potential threat to those very talks.


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