In these videotaped remarks, President Obama delivers a clear message to the people of Kenya: the upcoming elections are a historic opportunity for Kenyans to stand together, as a nation, for peace and progress, and for the rule of law. The President has strong ties to the people of Kenya. From visiting his father’s village to touring the country as a U.S. Senator, he has a deep and personal interest in seeing Kenya flourish.
Kenyans have made remarkable progress since the devastating violence that followed the elections five years ago. Lives and communities have been rebuilt, the economy has rebounded, and Kenyans have peacefully stood together to pass a historic constitution and advance important political reforms. While the international community has assisted these efforts, the Kenyan people have stood together to solidify the rule of law and put Kenya on a path to greater prosperity.
As Kenyans prepare for the March elections, President Obama urges the people of Kenya to put aside tribal and ethnic differences; to clearly reject intimidation and violence; to address electoral disputes through Kenya’s courts, rather than on the streets; and to come together as a nation on the 50th anniversary of Kenyan independence. It is a moment to put strife and impunity firmly in the past, and to embrace a bright and peaceful future.
The eyes of the world will be on Kenya this March, and the United States stands with the Kenyan people during this historic moment. As President Obama has stated, “to all that are willing to walk this path of progress, you will continue to have a strong friend and partner in the United States of America.”
Grant T. Harris is the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs