Kenya has decided it doesn’t need western assistance to ensure it has “free and fair” elections.
The African country is holding a national vote for president, deputy president, and parliament on 8 August.
But the election will have to go forward without the help of two foreign advisors.
John Phillips, a US citizen and chief executive of political consultancy Aristotle, and Canadian citizen Andreas Katsouris, a senior executive at the same firm, were arrested on Friday and deported from Kenya on Saturday, according to Reuters.
The two men were providing political consulting services to opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his National Super Alliance party. Polls show Odinga and incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta neck-in-neck in the race for the Kenya State House.
Kenya’s last two presidential elections were marred by violence and charges from the losing side of vote rigging. Unrest following the 2007 vote left hundreds dead.
Here’s more from the Reuters report regarding the arrests of Phillips and Katsouris:
“They handcuffed me and put me in the hatchback of a car,” Phillips said by phone from Frankfurt.
Katsouris said they were manhandled after the police arrived.
“One man had a picture of me on his mobile phone,” he said, speaking by phone from Delft, the Netherlands. “Another guy grabbed me by the arm and grabbed my glasses from my face.”
After being bundled into separate cars they were driven around for several hours, while being questioned, and then taken to holding cells at the airport, they said…
Phillips said one of Aristotle’s jobs was to monitor the transparency of the election. The two had been in Kenya for around two months and were doing polling, data analysis and monitoring the election process…
Interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said via a text message on Sunday that Phillips and Katsouris had “contradicted the terms of their visa”. When asked how, he replied “ask them”.
Whatever Kenya’s political problems, it appears Nairobi doesn’t believe US-Canadian meddling in their elections is the way to solve them.