Kenya credited for election handling

April 1, 2013 at 10:47 AM

WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- Kenya's ability to resolve political disputes through the legal system shows it's overcome a legacy of violence, the U.S. government said.

The Kenyan Supreme Court overturned a challenge to a March 4 declaration that Uhuru Kenyatta secured the presidency with a narrow margin of victory. Prime Minister Raila Odinga challenged the results, which Kenyatta won, clearing the 50 percent threshold by less than 1 percentage point.

White House spokesman Jay Carney relayed a message of congratulations on behalf of U.S. President Barack Obama.

"The electoral process and the peaceful adjudication of disputes in the Kenyan legal system are testaments to the progress Kenya has made in strengthening its democratic institutions, and the desire of the Kenyan people to move their country forward," Carney said.

Odinga's challenge to a 2007 election led to political violence that left more than 1,000 people dead. Kenyatta is to appear before the International Criminal Court in July to face charges he played a role in the post-election violence.

"We welcome and wish to underscore the importance of Kenya's commitment to uphold its international obligations, including those with respect to international justice," Carney said.

Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reports two people died and 17 were arrested during a crackdown that followed the Supreme Court's ruling. The police were authorized to use force to control the situation.

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