Kenyan government reacts to Trump ‘racist’ remarks

Thursday January 18 2018

Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe at a press

Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe at a press conference on January 18, 2018. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe has said Kenya has no problem with an obscene word used by US President Donald Trump to describe African countries and Haiti.

Mr Kiraithe on Thursday told journalists that the statement by President Trump were not directed to Kenya.

“The statement was not an official matter that, say, is related to the relationship with the government. We enjoy a cordial relationship.

“We are studying the context in which these statements were made and see whether it is worth the attention,” he said.


In a statement to the Nation, he pointed out that the remarks by Mr Trump were not official government-to-government communication but Kenya supports the statement by the African Union which condemned the US President's comments.

Mr Kiraithe’s statement is the first official response by the government since the remarks were reported last week.

Last week, National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga, while wading into the debate, said the statements were “disparaging troubling and greatly unfortunate”.

“The remarks are deeply hypocritical as they conveniently ignore the fact that US corporations have set up tents in the same African countries that President Trump is disparaging and are making billions of dollars that they repatriate back to the US,” said Mr Odinga.


Leaders from across the world also voiced their condemnations, and accused the US President of racism.

Some African nations like South Africa and Nigeria summoned the US ambassadors over the remarks.

President Trump, had in a meeting with lawmakers in the White House dismissed Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as “shithole countries” whose inhabitants are not desirable for US immigration.

But Mr Trump has denied using the vulgar terms, tweeting: "The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used."

African Union chairperson Moussa Faki last week said he was alarmed by the comments.

“Considering the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the US during the Atlantic slave trade, this flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice,” he said through his spokesperson Ebba Kalondo.