Kirubi snubs invite to meet Obama

Chris Kirubi is the Chairman, Capital Group Limited

Chris Kirubi is the Chairman, Capital Group Limited

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – Businessman Chris Kirubi has turned down an invitation to meet with US President Barack Obama during his tour of Tanzania next week.

Kirubi who is also the Chairman of Capital Group Limited has been invited to be part of the business audience for the US President at the Hyatt Regency in Dar es Salaam on Monday.

However, the astute businessman has declined the invitation owing to the fact that Obama has once again snubbed Kenya in his three-nation African tour.

Speaking to journalists in his office on Tuesday, Kirubi said Kenyans should not take the matter lightly as this may create a negative image of Kenya to the world.

“I better be among the Kenyans who would rather say, ‘come home we meet you at home rather than in another person’s land’. I changed my mind and said I will not accept the invitation to go to Dar es Salaam,” he said.

Kirubi argued that ICC cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Rutoshould not be substantial reasons for Obama to skip Kenya as the duo have not been found guilty by the court.

“Kenyans must understand the implications. It’s not a very simple issue; it’s very serious. The fact that his roots are Kenyan, but he is not coming means a lot. He is not a president of a banana republic, he is powerful!” Kirubi told journalists.

“If Barack Obama visited Kenya, we would feature in every single media in the world. That promotion of a destination alone, we can never afford to pay for it. And Tanzania is now getting that opportunity,“ he lamented.

Stephen Hayes, the President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa who sent out the invite to Kirubi said Obama will give remarks on trade and investment between the United States and Africa and will also speak on East Africa business relations.

The business audience will be limited to specific regional business leaders.

Before the address, the president will have a closed meeting with about 25 carefully selected American and African CEOs.

Obama leaves Washington on Wednesday June 26, on the first leg of a three nation tour meant to emphasize economic potential and democratic development, in east, south and western sub Saharan Africa.

He will first stop in Senegal, where he will meet President Macky Sall and pay an emotive visit to Goree Island and a museum and memorial to Africans caught up in the slave trade.

Then he will move onto Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday 30 and the next day in Pretoriato hold talks and a press conference with President Jacob Zuma.

Obama will stay overnight in Johannesburg and Cape Town during his trip, and plans to visit Robben Island, where Mandela was once imprisoned.

The final leg of Obama’s journey will take him to Tanzania, where his program includes talks and a press conference with President Jakaya Kikwete and a visit to the Ubungo power plant.

Obama will also lay a wreath at a memorial for 11 people killed in the US embassy bombing in 1998.

MARGARET WAHITO

MARGARET WAHITO

Margaret has been a business reporter for the past four years. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Communications and Public Relations from Moi University. She also holds a diploma in Film and Video production from the Kenya institute of Mass Communications. Apart from journalism, she has interest in community work, especially helping the disadvantaged.