Unofficial apology to British envoys over their hotel eviction


Kenyans have learnt, with deep regret and a little sorrow, of the incident in which three junior civil servants of the British Empire were disinvited from a hotel in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

One might be tempted to believe the usual lies and propaganda that foreigners seen in Rift Valley are likely to be flushed out, evicted or otherwise displaced.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Although everyone is pretty much free to come and go as they wish, three days of discussing peace, unity and reconciliation with sports association about the mini-Commonwealth games does not fall within the parameters of normal or ordinary.

Britain must appreciate that since Kenya’s is a devolved system with a national and 47 county governments, sharing information about intended mini-Commonwealth games with the Foreign Affairs Secretary alone might not suffice.

One needs to also notify the county government, as well as the governments of the counties through which their officials might fly, drive or ride — lest any harm befalls them. The countryside is prone to calamities and accidents with a proclivity for foreigners.

Ordinarily, the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs should have sent word round had she not been hard at work in the international arena.

Ambassador Amina Mohammed has not slept a wink in the past two weeks. First, she camped at the United Nations Security Council, pumping handshakes, flashing smiles and doing what top diplomats do to obtain seven votes and eight abstentions to defer the Kenya cases at the International Criminal Court.

No sooner had that victory been secured than she crossed the Atlantic at the speed of light to prime the world for a vote on giving immunity to President Uhuru Kenyatta (and maybe the Deputy President as a bonus).

It was in upholding its responsibility to protect visitors from harm, and at the risk of losing income from hotel taxes, that British diplomats were escorted out of town.

This step was pre-emptive because of fears that the local population might have been provoked into taking precipitate action against the diplomats in the belief that they had come to procure, buy or procure witnesses for the ongoing trial of Deputy President William Ruto at the ICC.

It would have been easier to free Ambassador Mohammed to send an email or text message to her people in Nairobi, who would communicate with the Uasin Gishu folk if Britain had not been up to so much mischief at The Hague.

Greece, Liechtenstein, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, Chile, Japan, Peru, Guatemala, Argentina were the new Britain at the ongoing Assembly of State Parties conference, selling immunity is equal to impunity.

Having turned the entire European Union into parrots, singing its song louder than its composer, Britain must have felt so clever that it duplicitously proposed for the Kenya cases at the ICC to be tried through video link. Yet, they had lined up the civil society groups to oppose it.

Nairobi might be able to live down Britain’s duplicity on the international stage, but the rural folk are a different kettle of fish altogether. And they do not forget.

Recall that at the time when the Kenya delegation, wrapped up in overcoats and scarves to brave the 3 degrees Celsius at The Hague, working to obtain immunity from prosecution for the President and the Deputy President, the British have been playing fast and loose with the matter.

The eviction of the British diplomats from Eldoret was, therefore, completely unintended and not in any way linked to diplomatic undertakings elsewhere.

The High Commission in Nairobi should accept and convey to Her Majesty assurances of Kenya’s highest consideration.By Kwamchetsi Makokha-nation

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