US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson has warned that Washington may take punitive steps against Kenya, if voters in the East African nation chose a presidential candidate accused of crimes against humanity.
Carson said Thursday the US had no intention of influencing the outcome of next month's vote, but that 'choices would have consequences' on the future of Kenyan economy, including attracting investors.
'May I assure you that your actions before and after the elections would have consequences,' Carson said during a teleconference with journalists in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.
Washington's statement calling for accountability for crimes committed during the 2007/08 post-election violence came as presidential contender Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, prepared their defence ahead of their crimes against humanity trial.
The trial is due to start at International Criminal Court at The Hague, The Netherlands, in April, over the post electoral violence.
This week, US President Barack Obama called for a free and fair presidential election in Kenya, saying the US would not take sides.
Kenyatta welcomed the statement, saying it was an equivalent of an endorsement of his coalition's bid for the presidency.
However, Carson said 'people have to be careful' when voting, as the choice of who would lead the East African nation would determine the future of the economy.
'We know the negative economic impact the violence in 2007/08 caused Kenya,' Carson said.
The British Ambassador to Kenya has warned repeatedly that his country and the entire European Union would not have any formal dealings with Kenya if the Kenyatta coalition wins the elections.