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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs