Last night the US embassy in Kenya had a reception to celebrate the 238th anniversary of their Independence day. The reception was held at the house of the US Ambassador Robert F. Godec. The event was attended by diplomats, business people, organizations and the media as well. I had the priviledge of being invited to the reception.
The US Ambassador Robert F. Godec was very firm on his government’s commitment in standing with Kenya and to continuing the partnership which has lasted 50 years since independence. Below is a part of the speech.
“Last December, Kenya celebrated 50 years of independence. It was a moment for all Kenyans to be proud. As many of you know, this is my second opportunity to serve in Kenya – my first was 15 years ago – and I have seen firsthand the remarkable progress your great nation has made. Over the past two years, as I have traveled across Kenya, I have seen the commitment of the Kenyan people to freedom and to the principles so eloquently set out in your own 2010 Constitution. Democracy. Human rights. Justice. Rule of law. I have also seen the challenges Kenya faces. Creating jobs. Building infrastructure. Deepening democracy through devolution. And, strengthening security. Like the United States, Kenya will find answers through its diversity. As Kenya strives to meet its challenges, now is the moment for its leaders and citizens to come together. Now is the time to compromise, reject violence, and find a way forward as one nation. I urge Kenyans to unite to address the many challenges facing the country, and to embrace political tolerance and an open discussion of issues.
As you do so, the United States will stand with Kenya. We have been partners since Kenya won independence. Our partnership is unchanged and unwavering. We can see that all around us. It is in our excellent government-to-government relations. We work together to strengthen security, improve health care, educate children, assist farmers, and build prosperity. Annually, the American people contribute up to 85 billion Kenya Shillings in development assistance. And, President Obama has invited President Kenyatta to join him in August at the first US-African Leaders Summit.
We see our partnership, too, in the American companies that are here, investing in Kenya’s future. American business contributes to Kenyan manufacturing, telecommunications, aviation, and many other sectors. Our firms create tens of thousands of jobs for Kenyans. We see the partnership in education. Dozens of American universities collaborate with Kenyan universities in many fields. Just a few weeks ago, in this very place, I congratulated 46 young Kenyans on their way to the United States for the Young African Leaders’ Program. These Kenyans will attend some of our best universities – Berkeley, Notre Dame, Yale – for leadership training. And we see our partnership in the day-to-day friendship between Kenyans and Americans. More than 300,000 Kenyans live in the United States; 20,000 Americans live here. And another 150,000 Americans visit Kenya each year to see in person your beautiful country. What binds us together is deeper and more enduring than any passing issues that separate us.
Recently, however, some have questioned our partnership. So I want to say a word about the rumors and conspiracy theories regarding the United States. Let me be plain:
The United States has excellent relations with the government and people of Kenya. We do not support any political party or any particular politician in Kenya. We support the ideals and the principles set out in your Constitution and ours. Our actions and programs work to strengthen our relations.
The United States seeks to help Kenya expand its economy and create jobs. Our travel warnings summarize the security situation in Kenya to allow American citizens to take informed decision about travel. They do not tell Americans to avoid Kenya. Informing citizens and protecting them is the first obligation of all governments. The US Embassy in Nairobi is open for business and we have no intention of closing it.
So ignore the rumors. Focus on the facts. And the facts point to enduring support, enduring friendship. As we celebrate American independence tonight, we also celebrate all we have accomplished together. We celebrate our partnership.
I would like to thank President Kenyatta, the Kenyan government and the Kenyan people for our continued strong relations. Together, the United States and Kenya will build a better future for both countries. Together, hand in hand, we can and will accomplish great things for both Kenyans and Americans in our next 50 years of close partnership and cooperation.
Thank you for joining me and the staff of the US Embassy in Kenya to celebrate the 238th birthday of the United States of America.”