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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More