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Time For Kenya To Turn The Page


Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga reads the oath of office during the promulgation of the New Constitution at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, Aug 27, 2010

Kenyans in many communities are committed to reconciliation and ensuring the events of 2007-2008 are not repeated.

After two years and a thorough investigation of the ethnically charged violence that erupted in Kenya following the disputed 2007 presidential election, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has asked court officials to issue summonses for six current and former government officials believed to have incited or facilitated the violence. Luis Moreno-Ocampo says the men committed crimes against humanity including persecution, murder and rape, and the court is considering the request.

More than 1,000 people died in the clashes and rioting that erupted after President Mwai Kibaki was proclaimed the winner of the December 2007 election, which challenger Raila Odinga and his supporters charged was rigged. More than 3,500 people were injured and 600,000 people forcibly displaced. Calm wasn't fully restored until Kibaki and Odinga reached a power-sharing agreement that made Odinga prime minister.

Kenya has made tremendous progress since those dark days. Kenyans in many communities are committed to reconciliation and ensuring the events of 2007-2008 are not repeated. A new constitution was adopted in August to better serve the public good. These and other actions have the potential to move Kenya forward on its path to lasting peace and prosperity.

In pursuit of these goals, Kenya has a chance to turn a page in its history and move away from the impunity and divisiveness of the past toward an era of accountability and equal opportunity. The United States urges Kenya's leaders and the people they serve to cooperate with the ICC investigation. Those found responsible for the violence should be held accountable as individuals and no community singled out for shame. Let the accused carry their own burdens as the nation remains focused on implementing the greater agenda of reform, stability and prosperity.

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