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Regional Implications of the Kenyan Elections

Kenya Elections Uhuru Kenyatta
Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory was upheld by Kenya’s Supreme Court

AFRICANGLOBE – Trade and security dominated regional calculations over the outcome of the Kenyan elections that were held on March 4, 2013, Kenya is east Africa’s largest economy.

It seems that Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, now the region’s senior mzee (Kiswahili for elder), harboured some concerns as he congratulated President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta.

Yoweri Museveni spoke to both sides of Kenya’s political divide, praising prime minister Raila Odinga for taking the dispute over the election to court.

“President Museveni has called me three times since the results were announced.

“He is happy about my statement appealing for calm. I am also in contact with Paul Kagame and Jakaya Kikwete,” Odinga told reporters.

Yoweri Museveni also expressed concerns about the Jubilee Alliance leadership’s indictments at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and their confrontation with the West, according to a Ugandan security expert.

“Museveni needs a reliable Kenyan ally because of Somalia. Uganda is very concerned that the ICC issue could collapse NATO’s (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) naval cooperation with East Africa in Somalia. This is key,” he explains.

Kampala is also worried about Odinga’s push for the creation of the semi-autonomous state of Jubaland in southern Somalia.

The Ethiopian government shares these concerns: it fears that creating an Ogadeni-run mini-state would stoke fresh hostilities on its western border.

Rwanda, which has long dismissed the ICC as a court of Western imperialism, will have few problems with a Jubilee government.

“Our priority is business. The ICC is not an issue. We are interested in big markets and general stability in the region,” says a senior aide to Paul Kagame.

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