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Kenya to bolster UK ties despite Brexit challenges: Esipisu

Tuesday March 26 2019

Queen Elizabeth meets Manoah Esipisu

British Queen Elizabeth during her meeting with Kenya's High Commissioner to the UK, Manoah Esipisu, on March 26, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY 

AGGREY MUTAMBO
By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Kenya will continue to strengthen its ties with the United kingdom despite the Brexit predicament that the British government is facing.

Kenya's High Commissioner to the UK, Manoah Esipisu, on Tuesday said Nairobi will continue to focus on old friendships in spite of the UK's political changes.

Mr Esipisu, a former presidential Spokesman in Nairobi, pledged to defend Kenya-UK ties as he presented his credentials to Queen Elizabeth II.

The moment siganalled the formal start of his ambassadorial duties as is tradition in the Commonwealth, even though he reported to his duty station five months ago.

"Kenya, like the United Kingdom, finds itself in a fateful moment," he said. "Far-reaching political change promises to upend old certainties, to open new opportunities, and to reshape relations between a people and their government — though I dare say we have our radical changes done with slightly less attention from the world’s media."

SMOOTH RUNNING

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It could have passed as a usual ceremonial event, but the UK government is currently struggling to hammer out a favourable deal with the European Union on how to relate with the bloc once the British implement the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

Part of those political changes may mean that the UK may need to renegotiate trade deals it was once part of but which were handled by the EU.

They deals include the Economic Partnership Agreements, under which developing countries such as Kenya are to be allowed duty free exports of tea and flowers into the EU and in turn let in manufactured goods.

Mr Esipisu said relations will be smooth and that the countries will adapt to changes.

"Now, as then, and however things work out, we stand with our allies to defend the values, principles and interests we both hold dear. That is what the United Kingdom means to us, and, I imagine, that is what our alliance means to it," he said.

"I look forward, then, to maintaining and strengthening the friendship between our nations and peoples and, one day, to welcoming Her Majesty back to Nairobi," he said referring to the Queen's previous visits to Kenya.

INVESTMENTS

Some 300 UK companies operate in Kenya, with the trade value reaching about Sh140 billion.

Nairobi recently benefited from a security funding pledge worth Sh3 billion to fight poaching and violent extremism and boost trade.

Mr Esipisu replaced Lazarus Amayo, now Kenya's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York.

As is tradition, the new envoy rode by horse carriage to Buckingham Palace from the Kenyan Mission at 45 Portland Place.

The Queen received a bag of tea and coffee, and a copy of Mohamed Amin's book, 'Journey through Kenya' as gifts.

Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland and International Maritime Organisation Secretary-General Kitack Lim were among the guests at reception.

Mr Esipisu will also be Kenya's Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization as well as Governor of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.