AFRICANGLOBE – Commercial and security interests seem to have driven Western countries to perform a volte-face towards President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, who have taken the helm in Kenya.
During the Kenyan elections Western countries sought to influence the Kenyan vote, European governments and the United States had said that they would maintain only “essential contacts” with Kenya if Uhuru Kenyatta was elected.
It was meant to have been the West’s ethical stand against dealing with two men who face trial on what observers see as politically motivated charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
By changing their minds so quickly and publicly, Western governments have shown themselves to be void of principles and guided only by their narrow economic and security interests.
The January 2013 posting of Robert Godec, a former deputy coordinator of counter-terrorism, as American ambassador in Nairobi points to Washington’s concerns.
Godec will meet Kenya Defence Forces’ chief General Julius Karangi following his successes in Somalia.
Karangi is part of a security triumvirate that will underpin Kenyatta’s government: the other members are civil service chief Francis Kimemia and National Security Intelligence Service director Michael Gichangi.
Their power centre is outside the politicking around State House: they are likely to wield influence not just on policy but also on security sector business deals.
Many businesses are celebrating the Kenyatta victory.
Buoyed by the relatively peaceful elections, the Nairobi Securities Exchange 20 Share Index could go beyond the 6,000 mark by the end of the year.
Economic growth could reach an unprecedented 8.5 over the next two years, according to analyst Aly-Khan Satchu.
Above all, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) release of a $108.5m final tranche of a $760.6m Extended Credit Facility in mid-April was a critical endorsement.
The US and European directors of the IMF approved the disbursement without fresh conditions.
Such backing will allow the government to turn to the international bond markets to finance its big transport and energy projects.
They include a $4.7bn railway from Mombasa to Malaba on the Uganda border to be built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation.
Investors are already lining up to take on the 350km pipeline project from Eldoret to Kampala, giving Kenya a role in transporting Uganda’s oil.
As Kenya establishes itself as an oil and gas hub, Western companies are energetically pursuing contracts alongside their Asian counterparts.