Presidents W. Ruto and Joe Biden and wives at the White House. Source: The Washington Informer. - Photo: 2024

Bidens Throw Fabulous State Dinner in A First for African Leader

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | 29 May 2024 (IDN) — It was Christmas 100 times over at the recent White House dinner for Kenyan President William Ruto—in fact, it was one of the largest-ever state dinners with a guest list of 500—and the first for an African leader since Ghana’s John Kufuor in 2008.

Luminaries from the world of politics, cultures and the arts arrived at the residence of President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

Former presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were in attendance, as was Vice President Kamala Harris, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and members of the cabinet.

Other notable attendees included actor LeVar Burton and his wife Stephanie, journalist Lester Holt and his wife Carol, civil rights leader Al Sharpton and his companion Aisha McShaw.

This was an opportunity for President Biden to express appreciation for a growing security partnership between Kenya and the U.S.—just as Niger and Chad, among other African allies, were breaking ties with the U.S. and allying themselves with Russia and China.

Since his election in 2022, President Ruto has been speaking up on climate issues and calling for the reform of global financial institutions. He hosted the inaugural Africa Climate Summit last year, and made numerous high-profile trips, including a visit to China in October last year.

One of America’s closest allies in Africa

His visit is expected to highlight Kenya as one of America’s closest allies on the continent.

While Ruto’s trip may have thrilled American dinner guests, Kenyans at home were disappointed by the president’s failure to address recent catastrophic flooding which has taken close to 200 lives.

Staff and visitors have been left stranded and buildings submerged at Kenya’s famous Maasai Mara nature reserve. The Horn of Africa, a region of East Africa that includes Kenya, is one of the most climate-vulnerable regions in the world. Heavy rains have also affected Tanzania and Burundi.

But perhaps on the top of the two Presidents’ immediate concerns is the planned deployment to Haiti of 1,000 Kenyans from the Administrative Police Unit, leading 1,500 soldiers and police officers from other countries, for a total size of the intervention force to 2,500.

A six-member delegation from Kenya, however, says Haiti lacks equipment to accommodate a deployment of Kenyan soldiers.

The team is due to arrive back from Haiti this week after recommending a deployment delay that was later announced by the president.

A senior Kenyan official said the bases are still under construction and crucial resources including vehicles are needed before deployment of the first 200 police office from Kenya can take place.

No U.S. troops

The U.S. is not planning to send any troops to the island although US contractors have been in Haiti for weeks now, building the operations base and securing supplies for the incoming police force. US officials have reportedly also been training personnel in Kenya for their deployment for months, according to the Al Jazeera news service.

Meron Elias, a researcher at the International Crisis Group, in an interview with Al Jazeera, noted that Kenya is “demanding the US do more to rally financial support for the UN basket fund that will cover the mission’s costs”.

“Kenya also wants the US to commit greater backing to stemming the flow of arms into Haiti, including from US ports in Florida”, he added.

Elsewhere on the island, in a breaking news development, Associated Press is reporting that the local director of a mission group in Haiti and a missionary couple from the U.S. were attacked and fatally shot by gang members after leaving a youth group activity at a church, a family member told the news service.

The slayings of Jude Montis, the local director of Missions in Haiti Inc., and Davy and Natalie Lloyd, a young married couple from the U.S., happened in the community of Lizon in northern Port-au-Prince. They were killed as the capital crumbles under the relentless assault of violent gangs that control 80% of the city while authorities await the arrival of a police force from Kenya as part of a U.N.-backed deployment.  [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Presidents W. Ruto and Joe Biden and wives at the White House. Source: The Washington Informer.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top