The US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kenya on a two day visit to discuss bilateral relationships between the two countries. Mr. Kerry has a full schedule with meetings with different leaders among them the president of the Republic of Kenya, opposition leaders, civil society groups, and cabinet secretaries in charge of the security docket.
This is the first US high profile to the East African country since 2012 when the two country’s relations became strained due to the ICC cases that were leveled against the president and his deputy. This is one among many steps that are being taken by the two countries in thawing the otherwise cold relations.
John Kerry’s visit to Kenya overall agenda is to discuss the common goals that Kenya and the US share; strengthening democratic institutions, fast-tracking economic growth and improving regional security as the US acknowledges the influence Kenya has in the region.
Mr. Kerry is expected to discuss with Uhuru Kenyatta among other issues security, counter-terrorism measures that the country has put up and what more can be done, economic co-operation, refugee assistance, human rights issues and biodiversity.
Mr. Kerry is expected to give insight on how to deal with the al-Shabaab menace that is the cause of recent tragic massacre of the 147 Garissa University College Students. This will be discussed in a meeting with the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, Defense Raychelle Omamo and foreign Affairs and International trade Ms. Amina Mohammed.
The US has over 13 programs on counter terrorism and Kenya is looking to take advantage some of them and the same time hopes for aid in this mega-terror fight. Kenya has taken some very drastic measures to curb terrorism and secure herself and is looking to supplement the ones already in place to be better placed in dealing with any within and without security threat.
On Mr. Kerry’s Agenda also is to meet with the civil society representatives who have written a letter that will highlights some emerging and already existing issues they hope Mr. Kerry can influence the change upon. Mr. Kerry expressed his interest in encouraging the government to ease the pressure put on the civil societies and the press.
John Kerry’s visit to Kenya will not be concluded without his laying wreaths at the 1998 bomb blast site
that was orchestrated by the Al-Qaeda and claimed the lives of 242 Kenyans and 12 Americans. He will then head to Djibouti where he is expected to meet with youth and religious leaders.
John Kerry’s visit to Kenya to Kenya preceded the long awaited visit of the leader of the free world Barack Obama in Kenya in July. These two very high profile visits to Kenya clearly shows the warming relations between the two countries. It is also a clear indicator of the significance of the East African super power (Kenya) in maintaining the regional balance and security.