25 June 2013

Kenya: CJ Mutunga to Meet Obama in Senegal

Nairobi — Chief Justice Willy Mutunga is due to travel to Dakar, Senegal on Wednesday to meet with US President Barack Obama.

He will be among 22 other African CJs who are scheduled to meet the US leader at the start of his three-nation tour of the continent.

The invitation to the meeting was relayed through the US Embassy in Nairobi and signed by Ambassador Robert Godec, indicating that the embassy will meet the costs of the trip.

The meeting between the African Chief Justices and President Obama is expected to focus on the role of the Judiciary in democratisation.

Obama had recently explained that his travel plan did not include Kenya because of the International Criminal Court (ICC) charges facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

In a press briefing on Obama's upcoming trip to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania via conference call on Friday, US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said it was not the best time for the US president to visit Kenya.

Obama leaves Washington on June 26, on the first leg of a three nation tour meant to emphasize economic potential and democratic development, in east, south and western sub Saharan Africa.

He will stop first in Senegal, where he will meet President Macky Sall and pay an emotive visit to Goree Island and a museum and memorial to Africans caught up in the slave trade.

Then he will move onto Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday 30 and the next day in Pretoriato hold talks and a press conference with President Jacob Zuma.

Obama will stay overnight in Johannesburg and Cape Town during his trip, and plans to visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned.

The final leg of Obama's journey will take him to Tanzania, where his program includes talks and a press conference with President Jakaya Kikwete and a visit to the Ubungo power plant.

Obama will also lay a wreath at a memorial for 11 people killed in the US embassy bombing in 1998.

The US president was eagerly expected to visit Kenya but the White House has explained that the ICC cases facing Kenya's top leaders are the reason why he will skipp the homeland of his late father.

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