US top diplomat visits Kenya in Africa tour

Irene Githinji @gitshee

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected in the country tomorrow in his tour of Africa. In his four-day visit running from March 9-12, Tillerson will meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta and other government officials to deliberate on various issues affecting the country.

Tillerson will also focus on continued support for the democratic process in Kenya, refugee issues and press freedom. Other than Kenya, Tillerson will visit Djibouti, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Chad.

Tillerson commenced his tour of Africa in Ethiopia. On Monday, Acting Assistant Secretary for Africa Affairs, Don Yamamoto said via teleconference that Tillerson’s main focus is to talk to Governments and plans to address how to help Africa keep its resources and benefit from them.

Other key areas to be addressed are counter terrorism; peace and security; good governance; trade and investment. Yamamoto also endorsed Kenyan Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec despite the Opposition claiming that he has been siding with President Uhuru Kenyatta over validity of last year’s elections.

Although Tillerson may not be in a position to meet with the Opposition, Yamamoto said they are not ignoring them. “The Opposition plays a critical role and we are going to continue to engage the Opposition at all levels.

And I do not think you should come away with saying that we are ignoring the Opposition; we’re not. We continue to engage now; we’re doing behind the scenes, we’re looking at it, and probably talk to Amb Godec for more details, but we are firmly engaged with all sides,” Yamamoto stated.

His visit comes just a few days after Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb Macharia Kamau told off former American envoys to Kenya calling for President Donald Trump’s intervention over the post-election political stalemate.

Macharia was responding to an article written by former ambassadors William Bellamy and Johnie Carson, which he termed as misinformed, blatant lies and full of half truths.

He said the call for US intervention in Kenya is a clear demonstration of how preconceived notions and stereotypes about Africa by western technocrats, override any practical experience and knowledge they may have acquired in the continent.

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