Gideon Moi steals limelight as he welcomes VIPs

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Baringo Senator Gideon Moi was designated to receive some of the foreign leaders on Monday evening when they arrived for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni was the first one to arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where he was received by Gideon and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

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Gideon, who also welcomed President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, was at the airport to receive the dignitaries on behalf of President Kenyatta who reportedly assigned him the responsibility.

Uganda President Yowei Museveni escorted by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi waves traditional dancer on arrival at J.K.I.Airport, Nairobi for the Great Lakes Summit. Photo/PSCU

Kenya’s other neighbours Somalia and Ethiopia followed, with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn respectively jetting into the country.

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Zambia President Edgar Lungu and Kiir also arrived on Monday.

Security concerns

Presidents Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Hage Geingob (Namibia), Ali Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Seretse Ian Khama (Botswana) arrived yesterday morning.

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who was expected at Kasarani, did not show up, with reports in Jerusalem indicating he had opted to skip the crowded part of the event due to security concerns but arrived in the country on time to hold a bilateral meeting before attending a luncheon with the other heads of state at State House.

Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli, who had indicated he would attend, failed to show up and choose to send his VP Samia Suluhu. Uhuru attended Magufuli’s inauguration in 2015.

Magufuli’s rival Edward Lowassa was a notable attendee as former President Jakaya Kikwete chose to send his apologies on Twitter, saying he had prior engagements.

“I congratulate you President @UKenyatta for being re-elected as President of Kenya. I thank you for the invitation to attend your inauguration. I regret I will not be able to make it due to a prior commitment. I wish you all the best and success in your second term,” Kikwete said.

Most countries in Europe and Americas skipped the event, but UK’s Joint Minister of State for the Department for International Development and Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Rory Stewart represented Prime Minister Theresa May.

During yesterday’s event, Uhuru announced any African wishing to visit Kenya would be eligible to receive a visa on arrival. “Today, I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry,” said the President when he spoke shortly after being sworn in at the Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi.

The President said the directive would boost trade and security, increase appreciation for African diversity and reduce negative politics on the continent.

“For my fellow Africans, the free movement of people on our continent has always been a cornerstone of Pan-African brotherhood and fraternity. The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity we will become,” said the President.

-standardmedia.co.ke

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