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Why Ruto Will Visit USA but Keep His Mouth Shut at Congress

If President Ruto could speak at a joint session of US Congress, he would have been the first African leader to do so since 2006 when former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did it.

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Weeks ago, when it was still raining, an update was out that President William Ruto would be on a state visit to the United States of America (USA) on May 23, and his Kenya Kwanza side of politicians could not keep calm;

As usual, they celebrated, ululated and politicised it, especially as it was said that at the invite of the current US President Joe Biden to Washington, during that official visit, Ruto will be addressing a joint session of Congress to become the first African leader since 2006 when former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the continent’s first female elected head of state and a Nobel Peace Prize winner did it.

The mouthiness of those Kenya Kwanza MPs and a section of other politicians concerning all that made Kenyans forget about floods a little. But honestly, who wouldn’t be proud when he hears that their person is the first something? As a patriot, everyone is, and more so, 2006 is too long.

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But let no one rejoice any longer because the tables have turned, and too bad, upside down: Yes, our President will be visiting the US, but unfortunately, he will not be addressing any Congress after House Speaker Mike Johnson snubbed him by not formally inviting him to speak in the Chamber of the House of Representatives on that day.

However, we shouldn’t feel crossed because some 14 House Democrats already felt our pain and told Johnson they were “extremely disappointed” and that we deserve more respect as Kenya, the economic and diplomatic power of East Africa.

“Failing to offer the invitation to President Ruto risks sending the message that African partnerships are less valued by Congress,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote.

“Your choice not to provide the Kenyan president, a key African partner, the opportunity to address the Congress helps create an opening for autocratic adversaries to make inroads in African public opinion.”

At the time of publishing, Speaker Johnson had not issued a response, and as planned, trade and investment issues will be at the top of the agenda when President Ruto meets with President Biden over the course of the three-day visit.

He will join a welcome ceremony on the south lawn of the White House, attend a state dinner and be feted at a luncheon hosted by the vice president and secretary of state, make a stop at the Pentagon and take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Joint Base Andrews as part of the program.

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JUSTUS KIPRONOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Justus Kiprono is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. He tracks Capital Markets and economic trends, infrastructure reform, government spending, and the financial impacts of state decision-making nationwide. You can reach him: [email protected]
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