AROUND AFRICA: Update, Kenya Election, New AFRICOM Chief
Adds background, corrects size of Kenya’s economy
Kenya’s Supreme Court has been petitioned to examine the East African nation’s contested presidential election.
Uhuru Kenyatta – son of Kenya’s first president – was declared the winner of the March 4 election with 50.7 percent of the vote. But his opponent – Prime Minister Raila Odinga – says he has evidence of voter fraud and is asking the high court to examine his party’s claims. Kenyatta, who had been deputy prime minister, faces charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his alleged part in the post election violence that left more than 1,000 people dead. Kenyatta’s running mate, William Ruto, faces similar charges.
Odinga’s followers did not take to the streets to protest as they did when he lost another election in 2007 that was marred by widespread claims of fraud. Instead, his Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) party is taking his case to the courts, which have a better reputation for integrity now than they did in 2007, the New York Times reported.
Kenya’s constitution stipulates that the parties have one week to legally challenge an election and the Supreme Court has two weeks to rule on the challenge before the president is officially installed, according to the Voice of America.
Kenya, which gained its independence from Britain in the 1960s, is the 11th largest economy in Africa.
New AFRICOM Chief
Rodriquez, who is currently vice chief of staff of the Army, will take over from Army Gen. Carter Hamm, the current AFRICOM commander, who is retiring later this year.
AFRICOM, created by President George W. Bush, is responsible for protecting U.S. interests and assisting allies and partner nations in Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, its area of operation includes all of Africa except Egypt which comes under U.S. Central Command.
The command’s missions — outlined by Ham earlier — include: Countering terrorism and violent extremist organizations; Countering piracy and illicit trafficking; Partnering to strengthen defense capabilities; and preparing for and responding to crises.