Connect with us

Politics

Trump tags Nigeria’s Buhari “lifeless.” What will he say of Uhuru Kenyatta?

Published

on

What appeared to have been kept under wraps, regarding President Donald Trump’s impression of his his April meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, is now unveiled.

Financial Times is reporting that, apparently unimpressed with Buhari’s contributions at the US meeting, Trump had described their discussions as lifeless.

Given the US President’s earlier uncomplimentary remarks about some developing economies during which he described them as “shithole” countries, Uhuru Kenyatta’s August visit has received Financial Times’ review.

See below:

Donald Trump will welcome Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta to the White House on Monday for what will be only the second one-on-one meeting the US president has held with a sub-Saharan African leader since he took office last year.

The first meeting, with Nigeria’s ailing 75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari in April, ended with the US president telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Advocates of closer US-Africa ties hope his encounter with the younger, more urbane Mr Kenyatta, 56, will breathe fresh life into a relationship with a region that Washington is seen to have neglected as other countries, notably China, develop ever-closer trade and investment ties with the continent.

Under Emmanuel Macron, France is also trying to reset its relationship with its former colonies in Africa and deepen commercial ties with bigger economies in the Anglo sphere, such as Nigeria and South Africa.

“Trump likes chemistry,” said a person in touch both with senior US administration officials and the Kenya delegation preparing for Monday’s meeting. “Africa has never been high on his radar but if the big guy likes you he’ll find a way to make things work.”

Joshua Meservey, senior policy analyst for Africa at the Heritage Foundation, said: “Presidents Trump and Kenyatta have a pretty warm relationship which can hopefully pave the way for more engagement with Kenya and the rest of Africa.” The Kenyan president, he suspected, might try to “carry the torch” for the whole continent.

After his meeting with Mr Trump, Mr Kenyatta will meet Theresa May, the UK prime minister, in Nairobi next week before flying to Beijing in early September for the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation summit to be presided over by Xi Jinping, China’s president.

“A lot of the influence that America used to wield not too long ago is pretty much diminished,” said Patrick Gathara, a political commentator in Kenya. The increasing interest of other countries in Africa — including Turkey, India and the Gulf States, as well as China — gave African countries more diplomatic options he said.

Washington and Nairobi are expected to sign a series of commercial agreements that could “create hundreds of American and Kenyan jobs”, a White House official told the Financial Times.

Many expect Mr Trump will try to seal a deal over the plan by Bechtel, the US engineering group, to build a $4.5bn four-lane motorway between the port city of Mombasa and Nairobi for which financing has not yet been fully secured.

Aubrey Hruby, co-founder of the Africa Expert Network, said Washington was not focused enough on backing US commercial interests in Africa. “France, China and other countries do direct commercial diplomacy,” she said. “We get too bogged down in conflict of interest,” she said, adding that Washington officials were reluctant to be seen backing one US company over another.

While many in the administration are keen to develop relations with the continent along business lines, in place of a traditional focus on aid and security, Mr Trump’s repeated gaffes have hampered efforts to push the continent higher up the agenda.

The US president appalled leaders on the continent by including African nations among those he allegedly disparaged as “shithole” countries in January. Last year, he mistakenly referred to Namibia as “Nambia” during a public address.

Even last week, Mr Trump waded into a debate over land ownership in South Africa, alleging “the large-scale killing of farmers”. The incidents of such killings have fallen sharply.

Read Also: Zambia’s Finance Minister serving as president: Here is why

“Trump is widely criticised for not having an Africa policy,” said Grant Harris, former Africa director at the National Security Council. “So it’s in his interest to have something from Monday he can present as a win,” he said, adding that the US was considering a reciprocal trade deal with Kenya.

Mr Harris said the onus was also on Mr Kenyatta whose country, like many others in Africa, had borrowed heavily from China, leaving little room to do business with the US.

A White House official said the Trump administration was “progressing” with the development of an Africa strategy, adding that Kenya was one of Washington’s closest security, counter-terrorism and trade partners in Africa.

Two months ago, Tibor Nagy, a former US ambassador to Guinea and Ethiopia, was finally confirmed as the state department’s top Africa diplomat.

Mr Kenyatta’s reception in the Oval Office is a boost to a man who once faced an indictment from the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity over his alleged role in the mass violence that followed the 2007 elections. The charges were ultimately withdrawn in 2014.

“There won’t be any mention about corruption in Kenya or human rights,” said Mr Gathara, who said he was sceptical about the Kenyan president’s recent “war on corruption”. Under Mr Trump, he said, the US was now also perceived to have “lax standards”, reducing its authority to pressure anyone else.

Politics

Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga plans protest rallies, questions recruiting at IEBC

Published

on

As part of the fallout from the 2022 presidential elections in Kenya, the opposition under Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition has called for a public rally this Sunday in Nairobi.

At the rally, former prime minister and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga is expected to amplify his recent calls for an independent audit of the 2022 elections and their involvement in reconstituting the electoral commission.

The former Prime Minister has written a petition seeking to nullify Ruto’s victory, citing fraud and tampering with the Commission’s central server by the chairman, Wafula Chebukati, and other staff.

General elections were held in Kenya on 9 August 2022. Voters elected William Ruto as the East African country’s fifth president after a close contest with a veteran contender, Raila Odinga.

Kenya’s opposition has renewed its quest for what it calls electoral justice, vowing it has not recognised President William Ruto’s regime.

The seven wrangling officials of the electoral body, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have since left — through retirement, resignation, or suspension amidst allegations that the body was compromised to grant President Ruto the victory.

Following the development, the President on Monday signed an amendment Bill on the composition of an IEBC selection panel, setting the stage for the recruitment of new electoral commissioners.

The recruitment is already being questioned by the opposition suspicious that Mr. Ruto may populate the selection panel with his cronies and influence the appointment of friendly commissioners to smooth his re-election path in 2027.

“We demand that any attempts to reconstitute the IEBC single-handedly by Mr. Ruto cease forthwith so that Kenyans themselves can reconstitute the body after the firm and fair deliberations,” Odinga said Monday.

The is fear in some quarters that the planned protest by the opposition of Saturday will be countered by ruling authorities.

Continue Reading

Politics

Nigeria: Tribunal sacks Osun state governor, Ademola Adeleke, declares ruling party’s candidate winner

Published

on

In Nigeria, an election tribunal has declared Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the validly elected governor of the state.

The tribunal held that the governorship election was characterized by over-voting, adding that after deducting the excessive votes, Oyetola’s figures rose to 314, 921, while Adeleke’s came down to 290, 266.

The tribunal instructed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adeleke and his deputy, Kola Adewusi. It directed that the certificate of return be issued to Oyetola instead.

Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated Oyetola in the July 16, 2023 poll in the state.

INEC declared Adeleke the winner after polling 403,371 against Oyetola’s 375,027 votes.

Though there were 13 other candidates in the Osun governorship election, it was dominated by Adeleke and Oyetola.

The PDP candidate was victorious in 17 of the 30 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state governorship poll. The remaining 13 LGAs were, however, taken by Oyetola of the APC.

Meanwhile, the sacked Governor, Ademola Adeleke has faulted the judgement, describing it as “a miscarriage of justice”. He also vowed to appeal the ruling which he says is “an unfair interpretation against the will of the majority of voters”.

“I call on our people to remain calm. We will appeal the judgement and we are sure justice will be done,” Governor Adeleke was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson Olawale Rasheed. “Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate.”

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Musings From Abroad16 hours ago

Italian firm, Eni signs $8 billion Libya gas deal as PM Meloni visits Tripoli

With the aim of boosting energy supplies and other markets, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) signed an $8 billion gas...

Sports19 hours ago

Female Kenyan world marathon champion banned for five years over doping

A female Kenyan marathon world champion, Betty Wilson Lempus, has been handed a five year ban after she was found...

VenturesNow19 hours ago

South Africa’s FM, Naledi Pandor, wants quick solution to Ghana, MTN tax dispute

South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor wants the tax dispute between the tech company and the Ghanaian tax authorities solved....

Tech20 hours ago

Angola inaugurates new satellite control centre for ANGOSAT-2

Angola has inaugurated its first satellite control centre with the main task of monitoring the activity of the country’s satellite,...

Metro20 hours ago

M23 rebels take control of Kitshanga in eastern DR Congo

The M23 rebels have announced that its fighters have seized control of the strategic town of Kitshanga, in the Eastern...

Metro20 hours ago

237 African migrants rescued off Libyan coast

Not less than 237 African migrants were on Friday, rescued after their makeshift boat capsized off the Libyan coast while...

Politics20 hours ago

Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga plans protest rallies, questions recruiting at IEBC

As part of the fallout from the 2022 presidential elections in Kenya, the opposition under Azimio La Umoja One Kenya...

Strictly Personal21 hours ago

Umeme, grain and coffee: Why Kenya should fear Uganda’s economic gamble, By Charles Onyango-Obbo

Uganda, the 1990s shining Africa poster boy for privatisation, is engaging in what could be East Africa’s biggest economic liberalisation...

Culture21 hours ago

Nigerian singer, Mr. Eazi, expands business empire, buys shares in South African basketball team

Nigerian singer, Mr. Eazi, has expanded his fledgling business empire after he announced that he is now a shareholder in...

VenturesNow2 days ago

Ivory Coast to increase cocoa processing capacity with new plants

Ivory Coast, the largest cocoa-producing country in the world, has hinted that it will increase the amount of cocoa it...

Trending