President William Ruto’s government has sided with US Ambassador Meg Whitman following an attack by opposition leader Raila Odinga who was displeased with the envoy’s endorsement of the August 2022 elections as the country’s fairest and most credible in history.
In a statement, Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua said the statement by Odinga—who threatened to demand the recall of the billionaire envoy who was posted to Nairobi just a month to the polls—had erred and had no such powers.
“The Kenyan government welcomes the forthright and honest comments that the USA ambassador made on the positive strides that the country has made in the last one year. She stated facts and paid tribute to the democratic way our constitutional institutions oversaw a credible electoral process that has set Kenya on a transformative path,” Dr Mutua said in a statement.
He said only the Kenyan government can seek the recall of any foreign envoy.
“If Kenya has a problem with any diplomat or country, it is the work of the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs to summon and seek clarification. It is only the government that can seek the recalling of an envoy. As a state, we will work with those attuned to the transformational plan and welcome our partners who can see that Kenya is moving in the right direction,” said Dr Mutua in a statement.
Whitman had on Tuesday won a President Ruto-instigated standing ovation during the first day of the ongoing Devolution Conference in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
“I arrived in Kenya just before the August 2022 General Election and what I witnessed was nothing but short of remarkable. Kenya held what many analysts said was the freest, fairest and most credible in Kenyan history,” said the envoy.
She said Kenya was the best destination for investment and commended President Ruto’s government for making advances in the fight against corruption.
But the opposition leader, who also addressed the devolution conference on Wednesday, rapped Ms Whitman, saying she should keep off Kenyan affairs.
“I want to tell the rogue ambassador, leave Kenyans alone. If 'maandamano' (demos) can lead to dialogue between Ichung’wah and Kalonzo, everything is good with 'maandamano'. Tell the rogue Ambassador [that] Kenya is not the United States, and it is not a colony of the United States; keep your mouth shut while here, otherwise, we will call for your recall back to your country,” Mr Odinga said.
But Dr Mutua, in his statement, defended the envoy saying her message resonates well with the Kenya Kwanza economic empowerment plan.
“We value our development partners and members of the Diplomatic corps should not feel threatened or intimidated by unwarranted threats,” said Dr Mutua.
He added: “Ambassador of the United States, with her very strong private sector background, has seen the enormous potential that Kenya under the leadership of President William Ruto has. She has recognised our nation’s potential and trajectory and does not require any retribution from any person who loves our country.”