Leaders at fete sign of Kenya’s spot in Africa

Wednesday November 29 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta takes oath of office at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on November 28, 2017. He said more Kenyans will now be incorporated into the National Hospital Insurance Fund. PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | AFP 

By JOHN KAMAU
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The arrival of 10 heads of state in Nairobi to witness the swearing-in of President Uhuru Kenyatta was an important sign of the place of Kenya in African politics.

That Mr Kenyatta has become an important player in African politics was not lost to observers and he used the occasion to speak about the pan-African spirit, a pet topic that he champions when among his African peers.

Shortly after he was sworn in for the last term, Mr Kenyatta announced that Kenya would do away with the visa policy and allow all African citizens to apply for entry visa at the airport.

He said that this will not be based on the principle of reciprocity, which states that favours, benefits and penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens of another, should be returned in kind.

That Kenya is not seeking such favours will throw a challenge to other African countries to do the same.

However, Kenya’s decision was in line with the country’s foreign policy pillar of economic integration and increase of the country’s competitiveness abroad.

By opening doors to EAC citizens to work and invest in Kenya without permits, the President seemed to take cue from Rwanda’s Paul Kagame who has built his country’s economy by tapping expertise from the neighbouring countries.