Kenyan VP snowed in

February 8, 2010 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, Feb 8 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was caught in one of the worst snow storms to hit Washington, and which was described by President Barack Obama as a "Snowmaggedon".

According to his personal assistant Kaplich Barsito, the VP had to abandon plans to fly out of the US Capital to the Caribbean Islands, after being snowed-in at the Ritz Carlton hotel.

All flights out of Washington were cancelled as cars on driveways and car parks completely buried in snow.

The tragic blizzard has killed two people, and buried Washington in 30 inches of snow.

Thousands of families fared much worse, most going without power for three days.

Schools, government offices, and businesses closed for two days. Public transport and even private motoring ground to a halt.

The VP meanwhile, who is winding up his tour of the US, has established the strategic importance that Kenya plays in that country.

At every meeting between Mr Musyoka and American politicians, senior government officials, business executives or during a high profile presentation at the New American Foundation, one message came through – Americans and Kenyans need to forge closer and mutually beneficial ties.

Speakers in key meetings spoke of co-operation on tackling security concerns, increase in direct foreign investments, development assistance and trade between the two countries.

Participants at the forum where Mr Musyoka and House Speaker Kenneth Marende made presentations attested to this renewed interest by the Americans on Kenya.

Those who showed up include a senior executive of Coca-Cola, representatives of the World Bank, Human Rights Watch, the State Department, Rand Corporation, IMF, International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and representatives of European and South American Embassies.

Predictably some of the burning questions revolved around the resurgence of extremists around East Africa and the Horn of Africa region.

But others wanted to know the condition of Kenya’s investment climate. Their questions centred on infrastructure and the upgrading of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from level two to a level one facility. This they said would enable goods to be flown directly from Nairobi to major American cities.

Mr Musyoka challenged Americans to match their desire for a deeper partnership with more action on development assistance and trade.

He argued that one way the Americans will help Kenya deal with her development challenges is by first- tracking her application to access the Millennium Challenge Account funds, just like the Bush administration did for neighbouring Tanzania. The East African nation received over $700 million from the MCA.

The VP also pressed for the lifting of travel advisories the U.S has issued to her citizens travelling to Kenya. His point being tourists read such advisories to mean Kenya was an unsafe place to visit, yet the reality on the ground is that no tourist has been targeted in Kenya.

This comes in the wake of news from the United Nations that Kenya\’s capital Nairobi has been upgraded to level one headquarters just like New York, Vienna and The Hague.


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