, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 20 – Britain’s High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner has dismissed as a myth, speculation that Britain has abandoned Kenya in the fight against terrorism in light of the Mpeketoni killings.
Turner on Thursday the British government has and will continue to share intelligence with Kenya and invest in the security apparatus in the country.
“The wounds from Westgate are still raw, and the evil events this week in Mpeketoni only harden our resolve to stand shoulder to shoulder with Kenyans to tackle this threat,” Turner said despite President Uhuru Kenyatta attributing the killings to politics.
Turner said the closure of its consulate in Mombasa and the travel advisory against all but essential travel to Mombasa and its environs was in no way a sign of Britain abandoning ship.
“We have three more levels in our travel advice before we get to evacuation but it was not against the whole country and I was not advising 25,000 people to leave. The travel advice for Nairobi, for the national parks has not changed. Obviously the first thing I would like to do is to remove that level of advisory but we make that issue on solely security based assessment of the threat against British nationals,” he said.
British Ambassador to Somalia Neil Wigan also acknowledged the Kenyan Defence Forces’ sacrifice in Somalia and said like Kenya, they knew what the security situation in Somalia was before reopening their embassy there last year.
“We greatly value the role Kenya has played in Somalia but clearly Kenya needs to make its own decisions on how best to pursue its national security. Kenya is paying a huge price in the lives of its soldiers but at least we are providing some financial and logistic assistance,” he said.
Turner went on to dismiss as ridiculous any thoughts that Britain was after a regime change in Kenya and said they were a committed Kenyan partner who would work with the, “democratically elected government of Kenya that will be in place until at least August 2017.”
Turner also dismissed the perceived Kenyan abandonment of the West in favour of China by arguing that it was not a competition.
“The UK and China enjoy a vibrant partnership. Suggestions made by some that the UK would want economic sabotage in Kenya is laughable. And as I hope our Uruguayan friends shall learn this evening, we are not in the habit of scoring our own goals (Uruguay beat England 2-1),” he said.
But he maintained the British government’s position on the ban on Khatt despite a plea by Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly, Aden Duale, for a five year grace period before it is effected.
“We are very conscious of the economic impact that the ban will have. That ban comes into effect under British law on June 24. The Home Secretary first made clear her reasons in 2013 and it was first announced as an election manifesto pledge in 2010. So this is a long standing policy of this government that I serve and the reasons for that have been made clear,” he said.
Turner restated this position and sought to discount the above, “myths,” at the Queen’s Birthday celebrations at the High Commissioner’s residence on Thursday night.
“We thought we’d do away with the vanilla type speeches this year and tackle this issues head on. Our positions on a number of things have been misrepresented a lot in the past year and half,” the newly appointed Head of Communications Stephen Burns told Capital FM News.