Why Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu missed Uhuru’s swearing-in

Why Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu missed Uhuru's swearing-in

The much awaited attendance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to nought after he was a no-show at the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta over security concerns.

The government had announced that “Bibi” was one of the first guests to be invited for the ceremony held on Tuesday, November 28 at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu was not expected to take part in the main inauguration ceremony to be held at the 60,000-seat Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi because of security concerns. He was also to be in the country for a few hours before flying back home.

The event was attended by several heads of states; Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Ian Khama (Botswana), Ali Bongo (Gabon), Mohamed Farmajo (Somalia), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Edgar Lungu (Zambia), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Ismael Guelleh (Djibouti), Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia).

“Rather, after landing in the morning and being received in an official ceremony, Netanyahu is scheduled to take part in an event at the Presidential palace, where he will have a joint meeting with some 10 African leaders,” wrote the Post.

Speaking about the visit at the Likud faction meeting on Monday, Netanyahu referred to Kenyatta as “my friend.” Pointing out that this will be his third visit to Africa in 18 months, Netanyahu said: “This tells you about the importance that we in Israel attribute to Africa, and no less importantly, the importance Africa places on strengthening ties with Israel.”

Diplomatic officials deflected criticism that Netanyahu is attending the ceremony even though it was contested and marred by violence, saying that the international community accepted the Supreme Court’s authorisation of the second election results, which Kenyatta won by a margin of some 98%. Less than 40% of the electorate took part in that vote, however.

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