Mr. Chris Coons, a Delaware State Senator, accompanied other American delegates to meet with Vice President Rigathi Gachagua yesterday morning. As of press time, his meeting with the leaders of the Azimio was still ongoing. The Daily Post learned that Mr. Coons was part of the convoy of the Vice President of America, Mrs. Kamala Harris, who is visiting three African countries this week, namely Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia only. Kenya was not on the schedule released to the public.
Initially, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United States maintained that it recognizes the rights of citizens to protest and asked the police to refrain from using force when protecting citizens and property.
“America is saddened by the deaths and property damage in the protests that took place in Kenya. We encourage political leaders, protesters, and all allies to refrain from war and rhetoric that may incite violence. And we call on security guards in the government to refrain from using force when protecting citizens and property. The rights to freedom of expression and participation in peaceful protests are important pillars of democracy,” said the Ministry’s Deputy Spokesman, Mr. Vedant Patel, in an interview in Washington.
Mr. Gachagua said his meeting with the delegation was about consultations to increase cooperation between the two countries in different issues including democracy, trade, security, and others. Both political parties, Azimio and Kenya Kwanza, have held strong positions that undermine calls for consultation to end Azimio’s protests.
“The violence perpetrated against Kenyans by Raila Odinga is aimed at forcing us to keep the handshake and bring him into the government through the back door. There is no part of the Constitution that will bring Raila Odinga into government,” Mr. Gachagua claimed on Wednesday when he went to Nyeri later in the day.
This was the second time for Mr. Coons to come to the country for a few months after the August 2022 General Election. After the general election, he led delegates to meet with Mr. Kenyatta, President Ruto, and Mr. Odinga at a time when the Azimio coalition was protesting the results of the presidential election.
In 2017, the senator met with Mr. Odinga in America, a few months before the former prime minister and Mr. Kenyatta suddenly appeared to announce their cooperation agreement, popularly known as the handshake.
Despite this, Mr. Odinga has been claiming that his handshake with Mr. Uhuru was not provoked by foreign authorities. In America, Mr. Coons is known as ‘more than a Senator’ as President Biden involves him in the reconciliation of international leaders, such as Ethiopia and Tigray.
His visit to the country has come at a time when calls are being made for President Ruto and Mr. Odinga to consult in order to stop the protests every Monday and Thursday, which are causing huge losses.
Yesterday Wednesday, Kenya suffered a blow after a cruise ship that was scheduled to anchor in the Port of Mombasa changed course and headed for Tanzania due to security fears.
The ship will now anchor in the Ports of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, carrying more than 800 foreign tourists. According to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) official, Mr. Hajj Masemo, the visitors intended to visit Kenya for three days before continuing their journey to Zanzibar.
The chairman of the hotel workers’ union in the country, Mr. Sam Ikwaye, urged politicians to seek a peace accord. The Parliamentary Committee on Tourism and Wildlife led by Mr. Kareke Mbiuki, which visited the parking area of the tourist transport ships in the Port of Mombasa, said that the action of the ship to change course will affect the tourism that had started to recover.
“We are asking President Ruto and Mr. Odinga to sit down so we can end this political crisis because it is affecting tourism. Nothing can’t be solved. We have received four ships since November last year, and stakeholders were hopeful because another ship was expected next month,” said Mr. Mbiuki.
The ship, which started its journey in January from Miami, Florida, is traveling for 140 days, anchoring in 140 ports in 27 countries. It will end its journey on May 27 in Barcelona, Spain. Azimio protest was scheduled to continue today.
Although earlier, the Governor of Kisumu, Prof Anyang Nyong’o, had banned the demonstration in Kisumu city. He later changed his mind and said it would continue as planned.