Kenya: Why Benjamin Netanyahu is No-Show at Kasarani, Nairobi

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a luncheon at State House Nairobi after the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
28 November 2017

Despite being invited and confirming his attendance, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not attended the swearing-in of President Kenyatta.

He neither showed up nor was he introduced by Mr Kenyatta at the 60,000-seater Kasarani stadium in the capital Nairobi.

But why?

According to Israeli media, Mr Netanyahu gave the event a wide berth due to fears over his safety.

According to The Israel Times, he was cautioned against attending the event due the "massive crowd" attending inauguration.

"The Shin Bet Security Service has therefore not green-lighted for Netanyahu to appear at Nairobi's Kasarani Stadium out of concern for his safety," The Israel Times reported, citing Hebrew media.

Mr Netanyahu was scheduled to attend the event which is being attended by more than 10 heads of state.

They include South Sudan's Salva Kiir, Zambia's Edgar Lungu, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, Botswana's Ian Khama and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

The Israeli leader is scheduled to attend Mr Kenyatta's party after the inauguration at State House Nairobi.

He will address African leaders at the event and later on hold bilateral talks with some of them before flying out in the evening.

In a letter dated November 2, the Prime Minister congratulated President Kenyatta on his victory.

Early last year, Mr Netanyahu was the first Israeli premier, in decades, to travel to visit Africa.

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