News / Africa

Kenyan President Seeks Ally on Trip to China

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping
Gabe Joselow
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a state visit to Beijing aimed at fostering economic ties between the two countries. But the Kenyan president may also be looking for a powerful friend to help him shake the case against him at the International Criminal Court.

Accompanied by a delegation of Kenyan businessmen, the stated purpose of Kenyatta’s trip is to build on economic partnerships with China and to seek greater market access for Kenyan exports.

On his arrival Sunday, Kenyatta spoke of the transformative power of Chinese investment in Kenya.

“As Kenyans very well know, we as a country have benefited greatly from Chinese investment, especially in our infrastructure.  The roads that we are developing, the transmission lines that we have been developing, these have been as a result of our close partnership with this country” he said.

In an opinion piece published before the visit, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan said China is Kenya’s largest contributor of foreign direct investment, while bilateral trade topped $8.4 billion last year.

Seeking help on ICC case

But analysts say Kenyatta’ less-publicized motive on this, his second trip outside of Africa, is to rally international support to have his case dropped from the International Criminal Court.  Kenyatta and his deputy are facing crimes against humanity charges for allegedly orchestrating the violence that followed the presidential election in 2007.

Because of those charges, some Western nations had threatened to cut off ties with Kenyatta before his election.

University of Nairobi political science chair Adams Oloo said the president is trying to woo powerful allies.

“It was quite important in his first visit that is bilateral that he be received by countries that are not only powers within the globe, but also those who would be keen to impress him, irrespective of the charges against him” he said.

Kenyatta flew to China from Russia, where he met with Russian officials and cheered on Kenyan athletes competing at an international track and field meet in Moscow.

China and Russia hold permanent positions on the U.N. Security Council, and are renowned for their willingness to wield their veto power to oppose politically controversial measures.  Kenyan officials and the African Union have been lobbying the Council to have the ICC case referred back to Kenya.

Oloo said the visit also sends a clear message that Kenya is not reliant on the support of critical Western nations.

“In a post Cold War era, in which it is not a bipolar system, I think President Uhuru Kenyatta was sending a message that even if it comes, a situation where the west ignores us, we can always look to the east” Oloo said.

Addressing another touchy subject, the two sides are also expected to discuss efforts to combat poaching in Kenya.

China has promised to cooperate in the fight against the illegal hunting of elephants and rhinos as Kenya’s animal populations have come under increased threat, due to rising demand for ivory and rhino horn from Asian consumers.  Kenyatta is due to wrap up his China trip on Friday.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid