NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday described Kenya as a “hotbed of vibrant culture” in a swipe at broadcaster CNN, which cause anger here after it said US President Barack Obama was visiting a “hotbed of terror”.
The report sparked widespread criticism with Kenyans mocking the report on social media, many posting images of the east African nation’s famous tourist sites, with hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN trending on Twitter worldwide.
The Kenyan government also said CNN should apologise for what it claimed was “a pattern of anti-Kenya propaganda” by the news channel.
“Kenya is a hotbed of vibrant culture, spectacular natural beauty, and infinite possibility,” Kenyatta said, in a speech at a business summit in Nairobi, standing alongside Obama.
Kenya has been hit by a series of suicide attacks, massacres and bombings by the Somali-led and Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab insurgents.
Two years ago a Shabaab assault on the Westgate shopping mall in the heart of the capital left 67 dead, while in April they massacred 147 people in a northern Kenyan university.
Kenyatta mentioned the attack on Westgate – calling it a “heart-breaking act of criminal brutality (that) became an emblem of extremist violence and terrorism.”
But he also pointed out that the mall reopened last week, and that Kenya offered far more than the violence that often dominates international media headlines.
“Africa is the world’s newest and most promising frontier of limitless opportunity,” Kenyatta said. “Gone are the days when the only lens to view our continent was one of despair and indignity.”
With the view of reports that Kenya had severed links with Western nations and shifted to the East in its development agenda, Kenyatta said the country was focussed on development and was keen on working with any country that was willing to progress it forward.
“We are, firmly and irreversibly, aligned to progress. Africa’s relationship with the rest of the world must be premised on mutual benefit, where our people and our resources are leveraged to secure the growth of our economies and prosperity for all,” he said.
President Kenyatta further acknowledged the impact innovations have had in bettering the lives of singled out the innovative use of mobile phones which have eased transfer of money across the world and even nurtured careers as in the case of Kenya’s Javelin thrower Julius Yego.
“Kenyans, using their mobile phone airtime inspired the development of M-PESA, now the world’s leading mobile money platform,” added Kenyatta.
“M-KOPA, a new Kenyan innovation, has brought the benefits of solar lighting to hundreds of thousands of rural homes, enabling our children to study after school, relieving our mothers from the burden of fetching firewood and burning kerosene late into the night.”