Kenya, Africa changes its president and Kenyatta “votes” for the historical rival

of Michele Farina

The leader, the first ally of the United States, does not enforce the Constitution (as his colleagues did) and steps aside. What if a woman becomes vice president?

Yesterday they voted in Kenya: this is good news. Elections of the President and the Parliament. The main contenders for the first chairman of the country: William Ruto55, current vice president, e Raila Odinga77, eternal opponent of the fifth attempt.

The outgoing leader, Uhuru Kenyatta
, has decided not to force the Constitution (as many colleagues do) to run for a third term, and is backing perennial rival Odinga against his number 2 Ruto. A strange triangle of exes (friends and adversaries), political crossroads and personal anger. Odinga has as deputy Martha Karua, who presents herself as an anti-corruption champion and “grandmother of the nation” (she sewed herself the dress for the election campaign): Karua would be the first female vice-president in the history of be Kenya.

The capitals of the world are closely watching the Nairobi vote (the official results in the coming days). He expects a heads-up. Both Odinga and Ruto have visited Washington in recent weeks to reassure the US ally that whoever wins will be on the path of diplomatic continuity.

Kenya has become a pillar of relative stability in Africa in recent years of ongoing emergencies: the war in Ethiopia, the coups between Sudan and Mali, the eternal fragility of Somalia, authoritarianism in Uganda and Rwanda, chaos always on the horizon in the Congo. Kenyatta in particular has proven to be a mediator and interlocutor both at the regional level (for the conflict in Tigray) and internationally: according to observers, he is the African leader with whom US President Joe Biden has confronted the most.

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Nowadays iSecretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Africa to outline new US partnership for continent of 1.4 billion people. If China invests heavily (but then strangles government budgets with the debt syrup), if Russia has the muscular military approach embodied by the Wagner militia, Washington’s line is for a “flexible” alliance (which does not either or type does not predict : either us or the Chinese) and respectful, after Trump’s contemptuous one.

In this perspective, Kenya is a key piece. Then, of course, the most important thing is that the new leadership gives concrete answers to the questions of 50 million Kenyans: more well-being, jobs, greater health coverage. And to boot, a bloodless vote: in 2007, post-election clashes caused 1,400 deaths. In 2017, the victims were at least 16. And today? First, for the loser: admit defeat.

9 August 2022 (change 9 August 2022 | 23:37)



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