Kenya: Amina Mohamed - "The Relationship Between Germany and Kenya Is Excellent"

interview

Kenya's Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed, who was in Berlin to meet with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told DW that the relations between Germany and Kenya "couldn't be better."

 What brings you to Berlin at this time of the year?

I'm here at the invitation of the foreign affairs minister of Germany.

Germany was the first country that recognized an independent Kenya, and I guess that the relations have been warm all along until we recently had some political hiccups. How would you describe the relations the way they are now?

The relationship between Germany and Kenya is excellent. It couldn't be better. You know we had a hiccup on an issue that is, we hope, a passing cloud. And I think we've moved beyond that. It's water under the bridge now.

But our relationship has been excellent from 1963, when they were the first country to recognize us, and the partnership that we've found has grown over the years. Even the support that they give us has increased tremendously - from 133 million euros ($180.4 million) to 233 million euros. So I think our relationship is on the way up.

You are also talking about the issue of security in Kenya, trying to encourage German companies and organizations to come and invest in Kenya. Speaking of security, your trip to Berlin also comes at a time of the recent tension in the coastal area of Kenya. Some young Muslim men are being radicalized, something that may scare away German investors from coming to invest in that region. What's your take on what's happening in that part of the country?

I think there are two issues, and maybe we shouldn't mix them. As far as security within the country is concerned, we are doing as much as we can do to ensure that we put in place the systems that are required, that we put in place the assets and the capacity required to deal with the security as much as possible.

I don't think that anywhere in the world you can get 100 percent security, not even in the city where we are in right now. But all that we can do as governments, as nationals and as citizens is to make sure that we endeavor to do our best and we leave no stone unturned.

On the issue of the radicalization of the youths, let me tell you this group of people knows no boundaries. As you know, they've attacked countries in the region. They attacked Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. They attacked Kampala. They came back to Kenya for Westgate.

So they don't know any boundaries. In fact, I think some of the things that have been foiled, attempts that have been thwarted, were not attempts of activities in Kenya. They were in other parts of the region.

And I think that we all need to put our heads together. We need to share intelligence. We need to share assets. We need to build capacity to make sure that we are ahead of the game all the time.

And I think what happened in Kenya is a case in point, where information was quickly relayed that in fact some activities were taking place. Immediately, the government moved in and stopped these activities from continuing. So you can actually see it's an example of a very successful effort by the government to thwart something that would have been disastrous.

Your trip to Berlin also comes at a time when we have this conference going on at The Hague on the issue of your president, Uhuru Kenyatta. What's your take on what is happening there?

Well, let me say that, in fact, it is a judicial process. And I'm a lawyer, so I don't comment on processes that are ongoing. After all is said and done, I'll be ready to comment on it, but at the moment, it's a process that's ongoing. I could be held in contempt if I comment on it. So I will not comment on it, but I think it's a natural progression of the case. You know we've had status conferences before, and we've attended them. And so this is no difference. It's a status conference. We are being told where the case is at and what the next step is going to be.

Amina Mohamed is the foreign minister of Kenya.

Interview: Josephat Charo

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