The High Commissioner of Kenya to the United Kingdom H.E. Lazarus Amayo, today, 12 December 2017 led Kenyans in the UK and friends of Kenya in celebrating the 54th Jamhuri Day Anniversary in London. The well-attended lunch hour function was graced by Hon. Rory Stewart OBE MP, Minister of State for International Development and Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office who is also the Member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border as the chief guest. The principal guests were Hon. Jeremy Lefroy, Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Kenya & the Member of Parliament for Stafford and Lord David Chidgey, Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Africa. It was also attended by Honourable Members of Parliament from the House of Commons and the House of Lords, senior officials of Her Majesty’s Government, High Commissioners and Ambassadors, Heads of International Organisations, Corporate Chief Executives and the Kenyan Diaspora among others.
While addressing the more than 400 participants, the Chief Guest Hon. Rory Stewart congratulated the Government of Kenya led by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta for showing respect to constitutionalism and the rule of law during the just concluded general elections noting that Kenya had exhibited mature and vibrant democracy. He congratulated Kenyans on the occasion of the independence anniversary and thanked the Government of Kenya and its people for the precious, strong and intimate relationship that Kenya and the UK have been able to develop over the last 54 years and hoped that the next half century will be more successful. The Hon Minister further stated that the United Kingdom will continue partnering with Kenya in implementing its development agenda and for regional peace and stability.
Lord David Chidgey congratulated Kenyans and friends of Kenya noting that a lot has changed since1963 both in Kenya and the United Kingdom. He reiterated that it is time Africa and indeed Kenya’s voice is heard again. He stated that even though Kenya has had a challenging year, there is so much promise, talent and a lot to admire in Kenya today. “Just like Britain, Kenyans are best placed to achieve their goals by their own efforts and should not allow politics to let them down,” he said. He lauded the connections that Kenya and the UK have through the Commonwealth Community and called for the two countries to play a full role during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018 in order to achieve the desired objectives.
While addressing the gathering, the Hon. Jeremy Lefroy said that Kenya has huge potential noting that the country is now Africa’s leading exporter of tea, coffee, and other products. Further, he stated that Kenya and the UK have a lot in common in values which the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kenya would like to build on. He noted that the Parliamentary Group will pursue, in addition to traditional areas, more collaboration in Agriculture, Manufacturing, Science, and research among other fields. He further congratulated Kenyans and wished them a very happy independence day and a prosperous 2018.
From Left: Hon. Rory Stewart OBE MP, Minister of State for International Development and Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office; The High Commissioner of Kenya to the United Kingdom H.E. Lazarus Amayo; Hon. Jeremy Lefroy, MP, Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Kenya & the Member of Parliament for Stafford; Lord David Chidgey, Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Africa.
In his address, the High Commissioner Mr. Lazarus Amayo welcomed the guests and took the opportunity to explain the significance of twelfth December in Kenya’s national calendar as it is the day when the country gained its independence in 1963 and become a Republic a year later on the same day in 1964. He added that the country has now made tremendous progress especially in the Economic, Social and Political pillars of its development agenda.
Amb. Amayo reiterated that the Government of Kenya is committed to continue implementing policies that will further transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, upper middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment. Kenya attained the lower middle-income country status in September 2014 after re-basing.
He noted that in line with its democratic practice, Kenya holds its elections every five years and this year’s General elections were conducted in August where H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner. He added that the results were contested and the Supreme Court on 1st September 2017 nullified them and directed a repeat of the Presidential election which was subsequently held on 26th October 2017.
“President Kenyatta was again declared the winner in the repeat poll and was subsequently sworn in last week on 28th November 2017. This is a testimony of the commitment of the Government and the people of Kenya to constitutionalism, the rule of law, separation of powers, respect for independent institutions and human life as well as democratic resilience” he added. He further called upon Kenyans to work for country stability, prosperity, its unity and for citizens to continue living in peace and harmony especially after the last general elections.
The High Commissioner also highlighted the declaration by the Head of State during his inauguration speech in which he stated that Kenya is a proud member of the community of nations, and will always endeavor to remain a force for good. He added that in recognition of free movement of people as the cornerstone of Pan-African brotherhood and fraternity that H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry without attaching it on reciprocity. “Already Kenya has this provision of Visa on arrival with many of its development partners including the United Kingdom. It is worth noting that with respect to our commitment to East Africa Community and regional integration, the President directed that citizens from EAC member states who are currently Visa exempt would only need an identity card to work, do business, and settle in Kenya ” he added.
The Head of Mission also stated that Kenya’s trade, investment and economic relations with the UK continue to grow from strength to strength, the UK being not only a significant development partner but also the largest foreign investor in Kenya from Europe and the largest source of tourist arrivals. He added that Kenya is keen to increase the volume and value of trade and equally diversify its exports to the UK.
The High Commissioner thanked the co-sponsors of this year’s reception; the Kenya Society, the World Remit and the Equity Bank, for their support that contributed positively to the success of the event. He gave special thanks to the Chief Guest Hon Stewart and Principal Guests Lord Chidgey and Hon. Lefroy for accepting to grace the celebrations. He also thanked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in particular, the Africa Directorate, several Ministries in the UK Government, the business community, various universities, the civil society organizations, the Diasporas and staff at the High Commission for supporting the High Commission execute its mandate.