How cancellation of Uhuru’s trip caught hosts by surprise
Los Angeles, California
News that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trip to the United States had been cancelled caught many by surprise and threw the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC and the Los Angeles Consulate into a spin on Friday.
The trip was cancelled at the last minute following what State House referred to as “increased military activity in Yemen.”
A source at the Kenyan Embassy Washington DC said everything was going according to plan until the embassy was informed of the surprise development.
“The President’s schedule throughout his stay in California had been finalized. His hotel was ready and all other arrangements, including his security detail while in the state of California were all elaborately done, ” said the source, who sought anonymity as she is not authorized to speak to the media Friday.
“As you are aware, this is unprecedented and we are in contact with the Foreign Affairs office in Nairobi seeking guidance on how to handle the issue going forth,” she added.
Our efforts to reach Kenya’s ambassador to the US, Mr Robinson Njeru Githae, were unsuccessful as his cell phone went unanswered.
On Thursday night, the President’s plane was re-routed back to Nairobi on over security fears in Yemen.
The plane had been scheduled to fly over the Yemen airspace en-route to Dubai where the President was scheduled to take an Emirates commercial flight to the United States.
“Following reports of increased military activity in Yemen, there was a challenge on the routing leading to a decision to turn back,” said White House spokesman Moanoah Esipisu.
On Friday, State house Spokesperson, Manoah Esipisu confirmed the cancellation of the trip.
The US trip was aimed to market Kenya as an attractive foreign investment destination at the Milken Institute Global Conference which takes place from April 26th to 30th in Los Angeles, California.
A spokesperson at Milken Institute said on Friday that the event’s organisers had not received any official communication on the cancellation of the Kenyan President’s trip.
Following the new development, only president Paul Kagame of Rwanda would attend the conference as a sitting head of state.
During his trip, President Kenyatta was also been scheduled to meet with Kenyans in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 25th.
A 1300-capacity ballroom at Hilton Los Angeles Airport had already been booked for the event.
Some Kenyans took to the social media to express their views over the issue.
“Our air force took the president (sic) through a war zone in Yemen, confused, they had to return him to Nairobi..that to me is real breaking news,” said Atlanta based Jacob Waweru Mayo in a Facebook post on Friday.
“This is embarrassing,” tweeted John Kinga. “Wasn’t it public knowledge that Yemeni airspace was a war zone?” he wondered.