Two days after the Supreme Court upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta in a highly controversial ruling that dismissed petitions as lacking in merit, the legitimacy deficit Jubilee regime has embarked on an intensive and costly shuttle diplomacy effort that is openly soliciting for “congratulatory messages” from regional and international countries on behalf of Uhuru Kenyatta.
The controversial re-election of Uhuru on October 26 that supposedly secured him a second term in power has been rejected by the opposition National Super Alliance and the global community is cautious and hesitant to endorse the win despite a Supreme Court verdict upholding it.
Kenyatta was purportedly reelected by an unprecedented world record margin of 98% of the vote, two thirds of whom incredulously voted one hour before polling stations closed. In a free and fair election, victory of this magnitude is virtually impossible to achieve.
Because Kenya is characterized by its anchor state position in Eastern Africa it attracts above average interest in African geopolitics. The country has however experienced severe democratic deficits in its last three general elections.
Perhaps even more of global concern lately has been due to increasing brutal and systematic repression on the civilian population by state securiy that has resulted in needless deaths.
So serious is the legitimacy problem that Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has embarked on a diplomatic offensive that saw her issue an urgent memo to Western envoys deployed to Kenya requesting them to solicit congratulatory messages from their home Governments.
Granted such envoys had already sent cables back home to appraise their governments of developments in Kenya.
Amina has also authorised a disbursement of Ksh500 million from state coffers to Kenyan embassies abroad to actively woe and solicit for the desperately needed congratulatory messages.
Uhuru is said to be particularly anxious to receive messages from British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump. However, both leaders have maintained a studious silence on Uhuru’s unprecedented and impossible if not embarrassing victory.
Yesterday, there was high drama after the influential British news publication Financial Times reported that Kenyan diplomats were literally begging for congratulatory endorsements of President Uhuru’s “pyrrhic victory”, which is a product of “preposterously flawed” poll. The paper also reports CS Amina Mohammed literally begged Britain to recognize the regime.
Another influential newspaper Daily Telegraph reported that the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was thrust into a political storm in Kenya on Tuesday after he appeared to become the first senior foreign official to endorse President Uhuru Kenyatta’s controversial re-election.
The Foreign Secretary was accused of handing the Kenyan government a diplomatic coup after he broke ranks with his western counterparts by unwittingly offering Uhuru congratulations in a serious gaffe that left Britain isolated. Telegraph said other Western missions in Nairobi had chosen to delay offering their congratulations in stands against aspects of Uhuru’s campaign and the deadly suppression of protests in recent months.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Monica Juma offered a weak denial of the stories in British media. Presidential Spokesman Manoah Esipisu later weighed in with a statement that claimed Uhuru had received 40 secret congratulatory messages from world leaders. It was unusual claim because such messages are routinely publicised by their diplomatic conveyors.
Ending the day’s drama was a Twitter update by the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU)which posted a congratulatory message from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Observers were quick to note that the tagged handle did not belong to the Prime Minister and his signature appeared to be a forgery. The Israeli government has not directly commented on the controversy.
Last week, NASA leader Raila Odinga called for international intervention in Kenya following a spate of violence that left nearly two dozen of NASA supporters dead by police bullets.
The international community, particularly super powers and large donor countries like the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Canada which all have full diplomatic missions in Kenya are expected to push for a return to democratic order in Kenya, and also caution the Jubilee administration on human rights and accountable governance.