United Nations (UN) spokesman Stephane Dujarric revealed on Friday, April 14, that UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Jane Mohammed was set to visit Kenya in late April 2023.
The Nigerian diplomat's tour would come barely days after secret US files leaked online indicating that she does not trust President William Ruto, further describing him as ruthless.
Dujarric waved aside the storm that ensued thereafter, adding that the trip was pre-planned and wasn’t related to the leaked documents. He also clarified that Mohammed's comments were misconstrued.
"There was a horrendous distortion of comments attributed to the Deputy Secretary-General that were taken out of context regarding Kenya, that in no way reflect her views or her opinion.
"I think it’s also important to note that she’ll be going later this month to Nairobi on a trip that in fact had been rescheduled. She looks forward to seeing President Ruto, as well as the UN leadership. And it needs to be said yet again to underscore the fact that for us, Kenya has through the decades and continues to be a trusted partner and very generous host to UN institutions," noted Dujarric.
Reuters reported that Kenya was irked by the documents traced to the US Pentagon, with Foreign Affairs CAS Abraham Korir Sing'oei criticising the US for spying on UN leaders.
Sing'oei, Ruto's former personal legal advisor, added the President wouldn't be distracted from creating his legacy.
Reports further stated that Kenya's U.N. Permanent Representative Martin Kimani personally spoke with Mohammed and her boss, UN secretary general, António Guterres, on the matter, seeking clarification on the issue.
However, speaking exclusively to Kenyans.co.ke, foreign affairs analyst John Gachie noted that the leaked comments came at an unfortunate time, with Ruto only having served less than a year.
“The big question is how Kenya will use this information going forward. It is all about interests, not individuals.
“The alleged comments wouldn’t derail Kenya’s engagement with the UN,” Gachie added.
Moreover, he commented that diplomacy requires pragmatism. Even if the comments were true, Kenya would still conduct business with the UN, having previously assumed the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council from 2020 to 2023.
“Even if I don’t like you, we still have to do business. Kenya will not make a big deal over it to avoid the awkward situation and the embarrassment it might cause,” Gachie reiterated.
Kenya also hosts the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) based in Gigiri, Nairobi. The UN employs more than 2,000 people in Kenya.
According to the analyst, Kenya will remain an active member of the UN. Kenya is represented at the UN New York headquarters by Ambassador Martin Kimani who was appointed to that role in December 2020.
“Both parties are expected to be cordial because they need each other. Diplomacy is about realpolitik,” he noted.