British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson reminisced on childhood memories of Nairobi at the start of last week’s press conference alongside Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.
Before the press conference got underway, pointing to the the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Mr Johnson recalled standing there as a little boy.
“I first came to Nairobi when I was a little boy and I recall standing in a tall building over there and looking at Jomo Kenyatta.”
“There has been progress and extraordinary success of Kenya today. It is really rather a moving thing. But it’s also great to see that the partnership between the UK and Kenya is robust and flourishing.”
During the press conference, the Foreign Secretary said he supported the deployment of security personnel to Laikipia to help police restore law and order after a rise in violence which has claimed many lives including that of British rancher Tristan Voorspuy.
While in Kenya, Mr Johnson toured Laikipia and met representatives of British nationals, who have borne the brunt of invasions of their vast ranches by herders. Appealing to Kenyans to respect the sanctity of their title deeds to the land, he described the ongoing conflict in Laikipia and other parts of the Rift Valley as a “complex question and there are many factors at work that have caused the conflict.”
“Let me say how much I value the announcement today on strong measures by the Kenyan government has taken to deal with disturbances that threaten farmers in regions of this country, including UK nationals.”
“What is apparent to the government of Kenya, and you heard President Kenyatta himself say it very powerfully, is that there has got to be absolute respect for titles to land and people’s property. Kenya has been very emphatic about that and I’m very glad about that and welcome that and I respect the announcement that was made today on measures being taken. I hope very much they will give reassurance to the farmers and allow them to go back to their business.” – Boris Johnson
Speaking about the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, Mr Johnson said Kenyan products would continue to be charged lower taxes even after Britain formally leaves the bloc, adding that75 per cent of the coffee taken in London comes from Kenya along with flowers and other fresh produce.
“Years ago there were very heavy taxes on Kenyan agricultural products of many kinds. It would be crazy to go back to a regime of tariffs that will be a barrier to trade.
“We now have an opportunity to do more to open up trade with Kenya and these incredible growing markets that we see particularly in the Commonwealth.” – Boris Johnson
During his Kenya visit, Mr Johnson also watched a joint exercise between the Kenyan and British troops. Last year, The National Assembly approved a new agreement between the two countries and the Foreign Secretary said this arrangement would continue as long as Kenya finds it useful.