Kenya: Why Uhuru Won't Meet Kenyans in Diaspora During U.S. Visit - Githae

President Uhuru Kenyatta.
26 August 2018

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on an official visit to the US, is not scheduled to meet with Kenyans living there as has been the tradition, Kenya's ambassador to the US Robinson Njeru Githae has said.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation, Mr Githae said time will not allow for the embassy in Washington, DC to schedule an interactive meeting between the President and Kenyans in diaspora.

"The president will only be around for one or maybe one and half days and most of that time will be taken up by his meeting with his counter-part, President Donald Trump at the White House" Mr Githae said.

"The president expresses his regrets. He would have loved to meet with Kenyans because that is one his best moments whenever he visits abroad," Mr Githae added.

INTERACTIONS

In most trips abroad, President Kenyatta has always found time to interact with Kenyans in the diaspora. These meetings and interactions are usually highly anticipated and choreographed as they provide an opportunity for the diaspora to interact with and listen to their leaders.

Mr Githae said the embassy in Washington, DC has not scheduled any multi-lateral or bi-lateral meetings for President Kenyatta this time round.

"I'm very disappointed that the President will not be meeting with us. I was looking forward to it. I had planned to ask him a question about the handshake but, anyway, I understand he will be on a busy schedule," said Anthony Muhuna, a Kenyan living in Annapolis, Maryland.

President Kenyatta, who arrived in the US on Saturday, is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday.

"The two leaders will hold talks on a variety of subjects among them trade and regional security, tourism and economy. The meeting will go a long way in broadening the special and historic relationship that exists between Kenya and the US. We are very excited about this and we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries," Mr Githae.

STRATEGIC PARTNER

He said that over the years, Kenya has remained a strong and strategic key partner of the US in the management of peace and security in Eastern Africa, covering the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa regions where the country is at the centre of restoring peace and stability in South Sudan.

In a statement issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta's press secretary, besides trade and regional security, President Kenyatta and President Trump will also discuss ways of strengthening the blossoming Kenya-US relations focusing on the two nations' shared democratic values and mutual interests.

"The Kenyatta-Trump meeting comes at an opportune time for Kenya considering that President Kenyatta is currently involved in implementing programmes to bolster trade and investments in the country through his administration's Big Four development agenda," the statement said.

The meeting between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Trump is a major boost for Kenya's tourism and aviation sectors as it happens just weeks before the commencement of direct flights from Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to New York in October this year.

"As you may be aware, America has overtaken Britain in the number of tourists visiting Kenya and with improved security and political stability that now obtains in the country following the handshake, we expect this number to double or even triple in the coming days, months and years," said Mr Githae.

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