UK Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham. Photo Reuters
Mr Bellingham refuted claims that he had been snubbed by President Kibaki, saying his visit to the country was mooted at a London conference on Somalia between Kenya and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
His sentiments were echoed by Trade Minister Moses Wetangula at a Press conference hurriedly called after a round table meeting, to deny claims that Bellingham’s visit was related to a document touching on the ICC cases that was presented in Parliament.
“I am aware of speculations about my visit. I have made it clear my visit is to discuss the many shared interests such as Somalia. It was planned for several weeks and never in response to the alleged documents,” said Bellingham.
He was speaking on the day investigation by a parliamentary committee into the dossier got of to a heated start after an MP accused the panel of trying to intimidate her.
“I feel I am being treated like a hostile witness,” said Nominated MP Rachel Shebesh in the wake of a barrage of questions from members of the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, including Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa who accused her of tarnishing the reputation of Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo.
Wetangula reiterated that Bellingham had not requested to meet Kibaki; instead, he sought National Security Intelligence Services boss Michael Gichangi, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chair Isaack Hassan and several ministers to talk about security, the coming elections and trade between the two countries.
Bellingham said he made it clear to Wetangula that the said ICC documents were not genuine. He described them as malicious and aimed at destabilising bilateral relations between the two countries and damage the political atmosphere ahead of the General Election.
“I am concerned that among other preposterous allegations, President Kibaki and Prime Minster Raila Odinga’s names were dragged into this in an attempt to create division and instability just when Kenya needs a stable and peaceful environment to conduct elections and implement the Constitution,” said Bellingham.
He said the British Government had made clear that the UK had no interest in any particular outcome in the elections and would not back any candidates or parties; instead, it would remain non-partisan.
“We support transparent, credible, peaceful elections which produce results that the people of Kenya, of whatever political persuasion, accept as the legitimate expression of the will of the people,” he added.
Among those the UK minister said met on Monday were Raila, Gichangi, Hassan and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti.
By Peter Orengo and David Ochami, The Standard