Gov’t defends Uhuru’s trips abroad as Kenyans rant on Twitter

Gov’t defends Uhuru’s trips abroad as Kenyans rant on Twitter

The government has come out strongly to defend President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trips overseas saying they have brought much gain to the country in the form of investments and grants.

Speaking on Sunday during a press conference at State House, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu faulted the public and sections of the media for criticising the president’s travels without understanding the requirements for the meetings he attends.

Esipisu took the opportunity to outline the gains achieved by President Kenyatta in his tours, with the most recent being in South Africa for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, known as Focac.

The spokesman noted that following successful bilateral talks with the Chinese president, Uhuru was able to secure USD1.5 billion for the extension of the Standard Gauge Railway from Nairobi to Naivasha, Sh4.5 billion for a state-of-the-art conference facility at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 1,000 new university scholarships for Kenyans who wish to study in China.

He pointed out that the continent of Africa was able to secure Sh6 trillion in funding, grants and low interest loans from the Chinese Government, an amount, he noted, that was three times more than what the continent received three years ago.

He further told critics to watch the delegations that other countries will send to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference that will be held in Nairobi in a week’s time, adding that the meeting is a negotiation forum.

“In anticipation of questions, I will answer one. I have seen newspapers peddling stories about the purported numbers in the president’s delegation, I will not dwell on them, but suffice it to say that COP 21, like the WTO Ministerial Conference we will soon host in Nairobi, is a negotiating forum,” he said.

“Countries send their top negotiators to secure the best deals they can (and our negotiators are still in France). Please closely watch delegations from around the world coming to the WTO meetings. So let’s hear the criticism, yes, but please make an effort to understand the requirements of each meeting,” he noted.

Esipisu’s statements came as Kenyans took to Twitter to criticise the president for his frequent trips abroad. The hash tag #UhuruInKenya that appeared to be mocking the president’s return from South Africa after a tour of two other countries, trended for the whole day on Sunday.

President Kenyatta landed in the country shortly after midnight on Sunday after a tour of Malta, France and South Africa.

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Story By Lisa Kamau
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