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Macharia Kamau: The diplomat with fast fingers and quirky views



Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau, the son of a PCEA cleric, cuts the image of a distinguished diplomat.

With more than three decades in foreign service and the UN system, few of his contemporaries are still serving in the Kenyan government.

When Parliament vetted him for the PS job, he said he was “drawing the line in the sand” to stop any further violations of Kenya’s territorial integrity or torture of its citizens abroad.

Outside of Kenya, he is associated with environmental advocacy, having served as Special Envoy of the President of the General Assembly on Climate Change and UN Secretary General on El Niño and Climate.

While serving as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, he was awarded the Elizabeth Haub Award, Gold Medal, for Environmental Diplomacy.

But he is also a controversial diplomat. This week, through his unverified Twitter account, he attacked a panellist appearing on KTN News and called her, among other things, a “nincompoop”.

Ms Jerotich Seii, the activist and fierce critic of Kenya Power’s services, was appearing in a KTN News show hosted by Ben Kitili where the subject was Chinese loans to Kenya.

The show on Tuesday came in the wake of Chinese and Kenyan governmental denial that the standard gauge railway (SGR) extension was part of the agenda when President Uhuru Kenyatta met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping last month.

The key question Ms Seii asked was why the government has refused to publicly diverge details of the SGR loan.

“What about this issue of one million Chinese who are supposed to make their way quietly into Kenya regularly … then dispatched to different locations … where are these Chinese? She posed on the show, referring to an alleged plan to ship in Chinese to work in Kenya in exchange for the Asian nation loans, which the government has previously denied.

“Our bureaucrats are too short-sighted, too corrupt and too foolish to understand that this is a long game,” she said.

The allegation appeared to incense Mr Kamau. He went ahead to incorrectly say the old railway line, the Lunatic Express, was constructed by the British under a loan arrangement (It was actually part of the British strategy to conquer the hinterlands and acquire the highlands).

“It’s a wonder we are still not slaves!!Where do they find these nincompoops? Where would Kenya be without the loans and rail?” he wrote.

When members of the public called him out for violating free speech, he said it was sacrosanct.

“That was never my contention. Mine is the manner of the uptake by some. The reason I like this medium is precisely because it avails feedback (sic). Some welcome, some not so. But all good. And for your information, the views here are personal.”

So why does the distinguished envoy rant in an office where diplomatic tone is almost daily dose?

In an interview with the Nation, he argued that he speaks his mind and tries to balance between office needs and his personal convictions.

“You have seen my tweets. Sometimes don’t say things that are flattering to the government of the day. Because even though I am a principal secretary, I am also a private citizen,” he told the Nation in April.

“And I have to manage this relationship. I am proud that I live in a country where I am free to do this even though I am a government official.”

He takes his liberty as a private citizen to exercise certain rights, “knowing very well that they might be perceived by some people, including journalists, as non-governmental. This is an amazingly progressive government.”

This freedom has seen him criticise Nairobi City County’s traffic jams and the National Environmental Management Authority’s lethargy in addressing noise pollution near his holiday apartments at the Coast during Christmas.

On the global scale, when serving as envoy to the UN, he infamously wrote to the UN Security Council asking it to stop ICC’s “offshore” trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto as it was hindering them from serving Kenyans.

Later, the contents of the 13-page letter were thrust into mystery after then-Attorney-General Githu Muigai claimed Kenya would continue to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. The cases were later dropped.

But Mr Kamau also dislikes the way journalists report on government. “I think there is an abdication of patriotism on the part of Kenyan journalists. Their interpretation of patriotism, sadly, appears as bashing the government of the day,” he said.

His first fit of anger, outside of Twitter, came when he criticised Somalia for auctioning oil blocks (which it denied), and summoned Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia back Nairobi.

“Am I angry? Are you happy to learn that you are about to lose a third, if not half, of your maritime area? Does that make you feel good as a Kenyan?”

To the diplomat, making sense in international relations today also means you have go to the edge of ideas. “You can’t’ just sit there saying nice conservative things and hope that you are going to provide leadership on the world stage,” he said.


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VIDEO: Tanzanian woman wants to be President Uhuru’s wife but Kenyans online are not amused



It appears Tanzanian singer Rehema Chalamila popularly known as Ray C infatuation with President Uhuru Kenyatta is not going anywhere anytime soon, if a picture she has shared on social media is anything to go by.

In the photo, the sassy songbird is captured wearing a revealing bodysuit with fishnet stocking while posing near a pool.

“Future Mrs Uhuru!jah love!,” the photo is captioned.

Predictably, the post has attracted great interest from the online community.

“Jamani huyu ashindwe kwa jina la Yesu, Juzi ukitembelewa na malaika akakutia ufahamu, Leo,” said reymsemo.

“Hivii ni wewe juzi ulieongea maneno ya kiroho hapaa mpka nikajua Umeokoka!!!?” asked wilkins_ms.

“Not our president… we love our first lady,” commented roselynatema.

“Ray C all reckless. She’s ready to risk it all,” said ayuma.

“Uhuru wetu wa Kenya ama mgani?” asked stacy 254.

“Haki ringtone apoko anatusumbua atahitaji jiko. Si umchukue tu,” suggested angel_johnson.

Ray C publicly declared her “undying love” for President Kenyatta last year while on a music tour in the country.

She claimed that Mr Kenyatta was the ideal husband for her and this has added to her love for Kenya.


by nairobinews

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Uhuru announces end of public commemoration of his father’s death



President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday announced the end of a 41-year-old tradition that was upheld by former President Daniel Arap Moi and his predecessor, the third President Mwai Kibaki.

President Kenyatta declared an end to public observation of August 22, as the day Kenya’s founding President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta died.

The President stated that the decision had been arrived at following consultations with the larger Kenyatta family.

President Uhuru spoke while accompanied  by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta during the laying of a wreath at the mausoleum of  Mzee Kenyatta as part of activities to commemorate the 41st anniversary since his death in 1978. Present too was Deputy President, William Ruto.

More to follow…

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Reprieve for families in Ethiopian Airlines crash as renowned US lawyer takes up case 



Kenya was the worst hit when Ethiopian Airlines plane Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed near the town of Bishoftu on 10th March 2019 killing all 157 passengers on board. A total of 32 Kenyans died in that crash, making Kenya the most affected country.

It has been five months since the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash, affected families have been locked in a legal tussle with US plane manufacturer Boeing for close to half a year now.

Families who lost their kin in the deadly crash can now breathe a sigh of relief as renowned US-based lawyer Manuel von Ribbeck has filed additional lawsuits against Boeing.

For starters, Manuel von Ribbeck is a lawyer who focuses on representing victims of catastrophic incidents, including aviation disasters from human or mechanical errors.

Manuel von Ribbeck (left)Manuel von Ribbeck (left)

Lion Air

Ribbeck is basically the hope of many aircraft accident victims throughout the world. He also represented families who lost their kin in Indonesian carrier – Lion Air Flight 610, which is the same model with Ethiopian Airlines plane Boeing 737 MAX 8. The October 29th 2018 Lion Air crash killed all 189 passengers and crew on board.

Ribbeck’s law firm – Ribbeck Law Chartered and its co-counsels Global Aviation Law Group and Igeria and Ngugi Advocates filed additional lawsuits against Boeing in the case involving Ethiopian Airlines plane crash.

A total of 66 affected family members are seeking $1 billion/Ksh 100 billion in compensation for damages from the American plane manufacturer.

The renowned lawyer seeks to consolidate the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines cases if no settlement is reached soon for his clients. The law firms argue that consolidating the two cases will solve the issue of contradicting orders if the cases are handled by different judges.

By Ghafla

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