The High Commissioner of Kenya to the United Kingdom H.E. Lazarus O. Amayo today received the Freedom of City of London at the Chamberlain’s Court Room, Guildhall, London in an admission ceremony that was presided over by Mr Paul Double, the Remembrancer at the City of London Corporation; Mr. Murray Craig, the Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court at City Corporation of London and Ms. Laura Miller, Deputy Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court City of London.

The Freedom of the City is an honor conferred by London City Corporation upon a valued member of the community, a visiting celebrity or dignitary. The City from time to time invites individuals who have made a significant impact in their field to take up the Freedom to acknowledge their particular contribution. The Freedom of the City of London can be traced back to 1237 where recipients were able to undertake trade in the city.  However, many of the traditional privileges associated with the Freedom, such as driving sheep over London Bridge, no longer exist. Currently, it offers the receiver a link with the historic City of London and one of its ancient traditions.

During the admission ceremony, the High Commissioner read the Declaration of a Freeman aloud and was subsequently greeted by the Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court. Thereafter, he was handed his framed parchment certificate.  The Clerk and the Remembrancer congratulated the High Commissioner for the honor and reiterated that it was a representation of his great contribution to the society. They noted that the High Commissioner was joining other great men and women who have been previously honored with the Freedom of the City.

While receiving the award, Ambassador Amayo expressed his appreciation to the Lord Mayor and the City of London fraternity for the great honour and invitation to the admission ceremony. In his brief remarks, the High Commissioner said that he was very pleased and humbled to be placed on the roll of the City Freemen and Women who have made significant contribution to the society. He noted with joy that the award was given at a time when Kenya and UK are enjoying warm and mutually beneficial relations based on a shared history and common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

He acknowledged and commended the City of London Corporation in its cardinal role of supporting and promoting London as the world leader in international finance and business and subsequently called for enhanced trade and economic cooperation between Kenya and the UK for the benefit of the citizens of the two countries. He also thanked Prof Mark Watson-Gandy and Mr. Alastair Watson-Gandy, Upper Warden of the Worshipful Company of Patternmakers for nominating him for the prestigious award.

Amb. Amayo was accompanied by his wife Mrs. Nelly Amayo and a number of Heads of Mission including H.E. Mr. Kena Mponda, High Commissioner of Malawi and his spouse Mrs. Mary Mphonda; H.E. Dr. Mohamed Sherif, Ambassador of Liberia; H.E. Mari-Cruz Andeme, Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea; H.E. Mr. Muyeba Chikonde, High Commissioner of Zambia; H.E. Yamina Karitanyi, Rwanda High Commissioner; H.E. Prof Cheikh Ahmadou, Ambassador of Senegal; H.E. Mr. Georges Aboua, Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire; H.E Sabit A. Alley, Ambassador of South Sudan; Mr. Richard King, Deputy Head, East Africa Team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as well as former High Commissioner of Kenya to the UK Amb. Joseph Muchemi and his spouse Mrs. Cecilia Muchemi.

The ceremony, which saw Mr. Amayo join the list of other High Commissioners and Ambassadors who have previously received the award, was also graced by Mr. Patrick Orr, Chairman of the Kenya Society; Mr. John Small, Secretary General of Eastern Africa Association and his spouse and members of the Kenyan Diaspora including Cllr. Elizabeth Kang’ethe, Ms. Agnes Gitau, Mr. Ray Bangra, Mr. Peter Kiruthi, Mr. Sam Ochieng, Prof. Odero-Ogwel, Mr. Juvenal Shiundu, Mr. Saleem Mehar, Mr. Raju Dhanani Shah, Mr. Rao Babu, Mr. Julius Mbaluto and Mr. Girish Raval.

The Kenya High Commission staff present included Col. Joseph Mokwena, Mrs. Dorothy Kamwilu, Mr. George Kabuti, Mr. Aden Mohamed and Mr. Fredrick Kidali.