NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – The government announced on Monday it would send a delegation to attend a grand celebration in the United States on the eve of President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.,
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said he would travel to Washington along with Ministers and Members of Parliament for the party on January 19, but would not attend the inauguration the following day.
“In fact I have been invited to be the key speaker at the bash that will be attended by delegations from all over Africa,” he told reporters.
Mr Wetangula said that the party had been organised by African foreign missions in Washington in honour of the US President-elect, who draws his roots from Kenya.
“We are aware that foreign delegations are not invited to the inauguration but the foreign missions in Washington have decided to organise the bash and the government will be sending representatives,” he said.
Other members of the delegation include Ministers Najib Balala (Tourism), Prof Anyang Nyong’o (Medical Services), Helen Sambili (Sports) and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Farah Maalim.
Others are MPs Hassan Joho, Eugene Wamalwa and 2004 Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai.
He could not confirm if Obama had been invited for the grand event but said it would go on ‘with or without his attendance because there will be many such parties in Washington on that day.’
“I understand there will be many such bashes in Washington on that day so I am not sure if Obama will attend. It will be at his discretion to choose which party to attend on that day,” he added.
Last week, the US government indicated that only chiefs of diplomatic missions in Washington and their spouses were invited to represent their countries at such inaugurations.
A statement from the US embassy said that Ambassador Peter Ogego had been invited to represent the Republic of Kenya.