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Clinton tells Kenya elections must be fair

Clinton tells Kenya elections must be fair
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the XIX International AIDS Conference on July 23, 2012 in Washington, D.C. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a visit to Kenya, Saturday said the "eyes of the world" will be on the upcoming elections.

Clinton met with President Mwai Kibaki and the Kenyan Elections Panel, the State Department said. She said the African country has already shown a "great commitment to democracy" with its recent constitutional referendum and that she is hopeful the presidential election in March will be a fair one.

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"But we know that there are challenges, and this is the opportunity to meet those going forward," she said. "Not only is this important for the people of Kenya, but the eyes of the world will be on this election. And I have absolute confidence that Kenya has a chance to be a model for other nations, not just here in Africa but around the world."

Kibaki, who has been active in politics since the 1960s, is Kenya's third president since the country became independent in 1963. His re-election in 2007 was disputed, and a commission said that there had been so many flaws in the voting that it was impossible to determine whether Kibaki or his challenger, Raila Odinga, was the winner.

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In early 2008, the two men agreed to form a unity government with Odinga as prime minister.

Clinton warned Kenya that the 2007 debacle had a "terrible cost."

"The instability that followed the last election cost the Kenyan economy, by most estimates, more than one billion dollars," she said. "So it's essential for government and civil society to work together."

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