Clinton due in Kenya this week

August 2, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – US secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to arrive in Kenya on Tuesday as part of her seven nation African tour.

Mrs Clinton, who will be in the country for two days, is expected to speak at the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) summit that opens formally in Nairobi on Tuesday.

There are however other AGOA meetings taking place on the sidelines ahead of the official Tuesday opening.

"The US Secretary of State will arrive in Kenya for a two day visit during which she will hold a series of meetings with Kenyan officials," a source privy to the visit told Capital News off the record.

While in Kenya, Mrs Clinton is set to hold talks with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. She is also expected, at some point, to deliver a speech at the University of Nairobi.

Talks with the president of Somalia’s transitional government Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed are also slated during her stay in Kenya.

There has been a buzz of activity revolving around her visit that even necessitated the cancellation of top government functions in Kenya.

The launch of a strategic plan for the Office of the Prime Minister that was set for Monday was cancelled owing to "the number of high-level events taking place this week," a statement from the PM’s office read.

The AGOA summit certainly tops this list attracting delegates from 40 Sub-Saharan African countries and America’s top diplomat as a key note speaker. The Kenya meeting involves countries covered by AGOA, a US law giving preferential access to the world’s biggest market to African states with open markets and democratic governments.

After Kenya, Clinton travels through South Africa, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde.

Her message to Kenya and the continent has been the subject of clamour with international organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) pressing Mrs Clinton to demand that African leaders address human rights violations.

Mrs Clinton begins her tour here in Kenya where a unity government is struggling to aid victims of deadly violence after December 2007 elections.

"Kenyans are losing faith in their politicians," Georgette Gagnon, HRW’s Africa director said in a statement. "The government’s failure to ensure justice for the victims of the post-election violence threatens to undermine Kenya’s stability and impede its economic development."

The top US trade diplomat Ron Kirk says there will be a message of "tough love" for African nations during the visit.


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