November 26, 2022

Biden’s presidential delegation to Kenya discusses trade, investment and economic growth with President William Samoei Arap Ruto

Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative, and head of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s presidential delegation to the inauguration of President William Ruto in a handshake with the new leader in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. Other members of the presidential delegation included Meg Whitman, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya; Colin Allred, United States Representative (D), Texas; Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Dr. Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.
Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative, and head of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s presidential delegation to the inauguration of President William Ruto in a handshake with the new leader in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. Other members of the presidential delegation included Meg Whitman, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya; Colin Allred, United States Representative (D), Texas; Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Dr. Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential delegation to Kenya met with the newly sworn in President William Samoei Arap Ruto to discuss ties between both nations. The presidential delegation to Ruto’s inauguration was led by the United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

In a statement, the office of the United States Trade Representative said that Tai congratulated President Ruto on his inauguration and noted the Biden administration’s support for shared global and regional priorities, including enhancing two-way trade and investment and promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth. 

“Ambassador Tai expressed the United States’ appreciation and support for Kenya’s leadership on regional peace and security challenges,” her office added.

In a tweet, Tai said that she was “honored to congratulate President @WilliamsRuto on his inauguration” and looks forward to “working together to enhance trade and investment.”

“I also welcomed his pledge to continue Kenya’s leadership in addressing regional security challenges,” she added.

 Ruto was sworn in on Tuesday as Kenya’s fifth during a well attended ceremony in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. 

Ruto, 55, who defeated veteran opposition candidate Raila Odinga in the August 9 presidential election, is taking over from Uhuru Kenyatta who was in power for two terms of five year each and and was barred by the constitution from seeking a third term in office.

Ruto thanked God in introductory remarks, saying that “a village boy has become the President of Kenya.”

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Taking his oath of office, Ruto said, “I, William Samoei Ruto, in full realisation of the high calling I assume as president of Kenya, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the public of Kenya, that I will obey, preserve and protect this constitution of Kenya.”

The inauguration was attended by a presidential delegation from the United States. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Saturday evening announced that Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative, will lead the delegation. Other members of the presidential delegation include Meg Whitman, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya; Colin Allred, United States Representative (D), Texas; Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Dr. Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.

Last week Wednesday, United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Ruto to congratulate him on his election victory.

During the call, Secretary Blinken also commended all Kenyans for their conduct of a peaceful electoral process.

“Secretary Blinken also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to deepening the strong partnership between the United States and Kenya on shared global priorities, including economic prosperity, climate and energy, global health security, and democracy and security issues,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

Price added that the Secretary welcomed Kenya’s continued leadership on regional security challenges.

The Biden White House on Tuesday last week congratulated Ruto whose election victory was affirmed by the country’s Supreme Court on Monday.

“We congratulate William Ruto on his election as president of Kenya. We also congratulate the people of Kenya on the conclusion of a peaceful electoral process,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a press briefing.

Jean-Pierre said the United States also commends veteran opposition candidate Raila Odinga for abiding by the Supreme Court ruling. Odinga had initially rejected the election results but lost at the Supreme Court on Monday.

Jean-Pierre asserted that the transparent electoral processes and the peaceful adjudication of disputes are testament to the strength of democratic institutions in Kenya.

“The United States and Kenya share a strong and long standing partnership on a commitment to democracy, security, economic prosperity. We look forward to enhancing this partnership with President Ruto and his new government,” she added.

The Supreme Court of Kenya on Monday ruled that William Ruto was duly elected the country’s President last month.

Kenya’s Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced last month that Ruto won 50.49 percent of the vote against Raila Odinga’s 48.85 percent in the August 9 presidential election.

However, four members of the electoral commission rejected the results, describing them as opaque, and Odinga himself also took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that hackers had accessed the electoral body’s website, deducted his votes and added them to Ruto’s.

He also made several other claims that he won the election and should be declared the winner.

His political party, the Azimio La Umoja (Aspiration to Unite) coalition, also claimed that it had enough evidence to prove misconduct by the electoral commission.

However, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected those claims and upheld the results announced by IEBC.

The ruling was delivered by Chief Justice Martha Koome, who said that the court found no evidence of tampering of results via hacking.

Koome added that “IEBC carried out the verification, tallying, and declaration of results in accordance with the provided constitutional law.”

William Ruto is 55 years old while Raila Odinga is 77. Ruto will be replacing President Uhuru Kenyatta who has been in power for the past 10 years and was barred by the constitution from seeking a third term in office.

After the ruling was delivered, elated Ruto posted a Bible verse on Twitter celebrating his victory.

“With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” – Mark 10:27,” the tweet read.

Odinga said also on Twitter that he “vehemently disagreed” with the ruling.

“We have always stood for the the rule of law and the constitution In this regard, we respect the opinion of the court although we vehemently disagree with their decision today,” he wrote in a separate statement.

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