An American delegation of legislators has arrived in Nairobi and is expected to meet President-elect William Ruto, his main rival Raila Odinga, and President Uhuru Kenyatta amid the disputed presidential election results.
The delegation, led by US senator from Delaware, Chris Coons, landed in the country Wednesday night and was received by Meg Whitman, the US Ambassador to Kenya.
Mr Coons has toured Nairobi twice in the last five years and was instrumental in 2017 in pushing for a rapprochement between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his then political enemy Odinga, which led to their famous handshake in 2018.
He would return again in 2020 at a famous prayer breakfast in Nairobi that Odinga, Kenyatta and Ruto attended, and which signalled the end of ethnic divisions in what they called Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
According to Ms Whitman, the US delegation will meet the Kenyan leaders “to discuss shared goals – health, security, and economic prosperity.”
The meetings come at a time when Odinga, a frontrunner in the concluded presidential election, has disputed the declaration of his main rival, Ruto, as the President-elect, saying the electoral commission unlawfully announced the results.
Dr Ruto was declared President-elect by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati, having garnered 50.49 percent of the valid votes cast against Odinga’s 48.85 percent.
Four commissioners of the electoral body, including the Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, have also disputed the results, saying the last phase of the tallying process was done without transparency, causing a split in the commission.
Odinga’s coalition says it will challenge Ruto’s victory in court and are already collecting evidence of election malpractice to back their case.
The US embassy in Kenya on Monday congratulated Kenyans on the peaceful completion of the electoral process and commended the IEBC for organising a “peaceful and orderly voting and counting process”.
“Going forward, we urge all parties to work together to peacefully resolve any remaining concerns about this election through existing dispute resolution mechanisms,” the embassy said in a statement.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had just returned from a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, commended the electoral process in Kenya, terming it “a model for the continent.”