Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When the American’s were in Town: US Secretary of State Visit to Kenya and the after Shocks

A lot has been written on the US Secretary of State visit to Kenya earlier this month. However, as is the case most of it has been partisan and crucial questions and key observations have been left missing.
I like many other Kenyan’s was NOT privy to the secretary of State visit BUT I made a point to watching her visit unfold on television and read opinion pieces about her visit on our dailies.

One thing that emerges is one part of the coalition was angered by her visit because she outlined her government’s position on some presidential candidates. It is said that she made it clear that the US is NOT pleased with the two Presidential aspirants who are also ICC suspects contending for the country’s top position. She must have made this clear when she met with our president at State House. The TV footage of this visit showed that present on this meeting was the Chief of General Staff Kenya Gen. Julius Karangi.
Her delegation also met with the IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack and made an offer to secure BVR kits which was rejected by the commission.
Clinton with Raila. Source: PMPS

However, the interesting meeting was between the Secretary of State and our Prime Minister. The Secretary of State got a hug from our ‘western & media savvy’ Prime Minister and in his entourage was the Water Minister Ms Charity Ngilu! Maybe, the PM’s office did their homework and knew the Secretary of State being the second woman after Condoleezza Rice to hold the current office appreciates women in power.
However, the missing narrative in this discourse was the Secretary of State meeting with Somali President in Nairobi. I have seen few narratives on this issue mainly from the East African Standard [a weekly publication focusing on the region owned by nation Media Group]
The Secretary of State also met with the head of the Judiciary, CJ William Mutunga. This is the meeting that had some commentators raising eye brows because our Foreign Minister Hon. Ongeri was NOT present in the meeting. But the Secretary of State and her entourage we’re correct in locking out the FM because he is NOT a member of the Judiciary.

The interesting thing is that all this meetings occurred in one day and for that matter on a Saturday [August 4, 2012].

Other talking points of this visit were that the US was now getting to see Africa through the eyes of the Chinese. In fact during her trip in Africa the Secretary had made some comments which annoyed the Chinese and from her meeting with IEBC and Civil Society it appears the Chinese were on hand to question her.

Above all this visit by the Sec. of State highlights the importance the Obama administration attaches to Kenya especially as it approaches the elections in March 2013 and the region and as America changes its approach to Africa. 

Some of the silent features of this visit were the US Embassy in Kenya was not in order because of changes at the US Embassy in Kenya.

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