Monday, January 7, 2008

Museveni defends message to Kibaki

President Yoweri Museveni has explained why he had to congratulate his Kenyan counterpart, Mwai Kibaki, after he was declared winner and sworn-in following the December 27 elections.

"After the Kenya Electoral Commission declared the results in which H.E. Mwai Kibaki emerged as the winner, and his being sworn-in on the 30th December 2007, I, as required by Diplomatic Conventions, called to congratulate him,” said Museveni in a State of the Nation address on the post-Kenya election crisis, yesterday. Museveni also explained that he had talked to both Kibaki and the leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, Raila Odinga, and “offered assistance in finding a solution to the crisis.” He said he had urged them to work together towards resolving the impasse.

Museveni has come under criticism for being the first leader to congratulate Kibaki, whose re-election has been disputed and has sparked off violent protests in Kenya. The Forum for Democratic Change has urged the President to withdraw the congratulatory message.

By last evening, Kibaki had also received congratulations from the leaders of Somalia, Kuwait and Swaziland. In the address, Museveni spoke at length about the fuel crisis in the country, saying the supply would normalise soon.
He warned fuel dealers against hoarding petroleum products and over-charging the public. Addressing a public rally in Busia on Saturday, Museveni said Uganda would not interfere in Kenya’s internal problems. When he made reference to “President Mwai Kibaki”, there were murmurs of disapproval.

But Museveni explained that the Electoral Commission of Kenya had declared Kibaki the winner of the election. “I never got involved in Kenyan politics. I never announced the winner. It was the chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya who declared Kibaki the winner.”

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