President Uhuru Kenyatta sent Interior CS Fred Matiang'i on a special trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday, February 22.
Matiang'i was tasked with delivering a personal message to UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.
The CS was received by Sheikh Khalifa at Abu Dhabi International Airport where Matiang'i inspected a guard of honour. The two later proceed for a closed-door meeting at the President's palace, Qar Al-Watan.
Matiang'i, later on, held a meeting with Lt Gen Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior for UAE.From left: Transport CS James Macharia, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and ODM leader Raila Odinga inspect a government project in Kisumu County on October 21, 2020
"The focus of their bilateral discussions were closer security sector collaboration between the UAE and Kenya. The duo also discussed the possible easing of VISA restrictions for Kenyans travelling to the UAE in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic," the Interior Ministry announced.
In 2014, Kenyatta travelled to UAE where he held talks with rulers from Jordan and UAE on expanding and deepening cooperation in areas of mutual interest between Kenya and the UAE. The discussions were centred around issues of security, combating terrorism and stemming out radicalization.
The two countries have maintained closer ties under the Jubilee government regime. In 2019, Kenya lobbied Dubai officials to support Kenyatta's Big 4 Agenda and also held talks over logistics, infrastructure, retail, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and finance
Matiang'i was elevated to chair the Cabinet Committee on Projects and Programmes Implementation in Kenyatta’s second term in office. The President has expressed his satisfaction with Matiang'i work ethic and has been delegating duties to him ever since.
In his new role, Matiang'i oversees a key committee on the implementation of development programmes, whose membership includes all Cabinet secretaries, the Attorney General and Head of the Public Service.
The former Education CS has also chaired several Cabinet meetings in Kenyatta’s absentia and also represented Kenyatta at several functions.
In March 2020, the head of state sent him to meet Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Matiang'i led a delegation that negotiated and handled the diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia.
The elevation of Matiang’i also saw Kenyatta push to the sideline his deputy, William Ruto after an apparent widening rift between the two Jubilee leaders. Ruto had been inspecting projects before the March 2018 handshake between Uhuru and Raila. Ruto allies have in the past accused Matiang'i of undermining the DP and using the police force to undermine the DP and his allies.Interior CS Fred Matiang'i inspects a parade during the official opening of 161 cadet officers’ training in Ruiru on Thursday, December 10, 2020.
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