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Israeli PM Netanyahu to attend Uhuru’s inauguration

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be among the 20 heads of state attending President Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.

According to The Times Of Israel, Mr Netanyahu will fly to Nairobi next week to attend the inauguration.

Netanyahu will be in Kenya for several hours, flying in on Tuesday morning and leaving the country later the same day after attending the ceremony, his office said on Thursday.

Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe on Thursday failed to provide the list of the heads of State who had confirmed their attendance, promising to give a full briefing Friday regarding the ceremony.

The government on Thursday declared Tuesday, November 28 a holiday for the swearing-in of the president-elect and his running mate William Ruto.

The two will be sworn-in for their second term in office.

PUBLIC HOLIDAY

Acting Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i published a special gazette notice declaring Tuesday a holiday.
This is in line with Section 12 of the Assumption of the Office of President Act which outlines how the swearing in of a president-elect should be conducted.

The swearing in has been surrounded controversy after an article was published by London-based Financial Times reporting that some western diplomats had said that their governments were holding off sending congratulations until Mr Kenyatta’s inauguration.

The government denied claims that it has been soliciting congratulatory messages from foreign countries after the Supreme Court upheld the re-election of President Kenyatta.

Mr Kiraithe laughed off the claim, saying President Kenyatta was duly elected as the President of Kenya and the government is not “suffering from an inferiority complex” to warrant solicitation of messages.

“There is no reason whatsoever for the government to solicit congratulatory messages. Even if nobody congratulates us it is immaterial,” Mr Kiraithe told journalists in Nairobi.

The election’s first round, on August 8, was overturned by the Supreme Court after opposition leaders complained the results had been hacked.

‘ALTERNATIVE INAUGURATION’

Opposition groups that refuse to accept Kenyatta’s election victory are planning to hold an “alternative inauguration,” which might erupt into violence, observers of African politics said.

In July 2016, Netanyahu became the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit Kenya. During the visit, Kenyatta pledged to help Israel gain observer status at the African Union.

“We believe that there is need for us as a continent to once again to re-engage Israel on a more positive basis, with an understanding that our partnership can help make this world that much more secure,” Kenyatta said at a joint press conference with Netanyahu at Nairobi State House.

Israel and Kenya are “natural partners,” Netanyahu said.

“We face common challenges, the first among them is as I’ve just said, terror… Now, alongside these common challenges, Israel and Kenya share common opportunities in technology, water, agriculture, cyber and much more.”

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