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Presidency: Uhuru hasn't snubbed Commonwealth meeting

15 November 2013, 10:04

Nairobi - The Office of the President denied allegations that President Uhuru Kenyatta would not be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka Meeting as a way of protesting the position that western countries have taken on his trial at the International Criminal Court.

The President and his Deputy, William Ruto, are facing charges of crimes against humanity at The Hague following the violent polls in 2007/08.

Amid the intermittent trial and the start of the Commonwealth meeting in Colombo, Kenyatta would attend a conference in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia where investment in the energy sector is one of the issues to be discussed.

His spokesperson, Manoah Esipisu, denied that Kenyatta was “skipping” the Commonwealth meeting.

According to him, Kenyatta’s visit to Kuwait for the third Africa-Arab Summit set for November 19 and 20 was meant to fulfill his pledge to help transform the economy.

Esipisu said the President had an “economic transformative agenda” hence the need to attend.

“This includes additional 5,000 megawatts of electricity to the national grid in the next 36 months,” he said in a telephone interview. “The Africa-Arab conference addresses some of the issues in terms of accountability to Kenyan people. Kuwait offers more in terms of tangible deliverables.”

He said the President could not attend both the Commonwealth and Kuwait meetings as it would have meant him being out of the country for up to 10 days at a time he was focusing on Kenya @50 events leading to the independence celebrations in December 12.

Several other African heads of state have also indicated that they would not attend CHOGM, an indication of the club’s declining influence. The meeting brings together former British colonies.

The meeting was last held in Africa in 2007 when Uganda hosted it.

– CAJ News

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