Rob MacaireHigh Commissioner to Kenya, Nairobi

Tribute- Professor Wangari Maathai

The sad news of the death of Prof Wangari Maathai, Kenya’s Nobel Peace Laureate, has resounded round the world: the tributes including from our Foreign Secretary William Hague are a testimony to her huge legacy. For me personally, it was an enormous privilege not only to get to know Wangari Maathai, but also to work with her on the recent efforts to open up and restore the Karura Forest.  Her … Read more »Tribute- Professor Wangari Maathai

Inspiration of Kenyan Paralympians

For diplomats on three to four year posting cycles, you know you are coming towards the end when you go to an annual event the third time around.  In the case of the Hay Festival/Storymoja literary festival, I was lucky enough to attend the first one ever held here, back in 2009, and last weekend I was at the excellent 2011 event.  The Hay Festival from the UK has an … Read more »Inspiration of Kenyan Paralympians

Kenya: Let’s consign the death penalty to history

When I was invited to speak at a conference last week on the death penalty in East Africa, by the International Committee of Jurists and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative. I was expecting a fair measure of consensus.  After all, here in Kenya the death penalty hasn’t been applied for over 25 years;  the President has often commuted death sentences to life, including over 4000 in August 2009; and … Read more »Kenya: Let’s consign the death penalty to history

London 2012 – one year to go

So, here we are, one year exactly to go until the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.  Kenyans will be watching for their national sporting heroes to excel, once again, and the UK will be welcoming the world to experience the excitement and inspiration that every Olympics brings. Thanks to the close links between Kenyan sporting bodies and the UK, in particular led by a twinning arrangement with the … Read more »London 2012 – one year to go

UK and Kenya – The role of modern diplomacy

One of the most lively and informative forums for debate about Kenyan politics is online, in particular in the comments threads that follow major news articles.  I was recently reading some comments about a speech I had made, and thought I would use this blog post to reply to views about what are legitimate topics for comment by diplomats. One priority for me is to have an open debate with … Read more »UK and Kenya – The role of modern diplomacy

UK/KENYA – Judges, Wigs, Television and Policemen

What a breath of fresh air to see Kenya’s new Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice, Willy Mutunga and Nancy Barasa, take their oaths of office in normal clothes rather than traditional robes.  I don’t have a strong view about which is better, but it symbolised a new approach and a break from the past, which is what I think people want to see.   It’s true that the formal court … Read more »UK/KENYA – Judges, Wigs, Television and Policemen

Kenya/UK: What does this word ‘Impunity’ mean?

I hadn’t been in Kenya long before I realised that the word ‘impunity’ carries a weight of meanings and implications here.   When people say impunity they are usually thinking of a network of interrelated problems:  corruption in high places, weakness in the judicial systems, lack of effective oversight or control of some police actions, and the link between money, politics, and the courts which means senior people are never successfully … Read more »Kenya/UK: What does this word ‘Impunity’ mean?

Kenya’s lost money

Various disturbing reports that I have read in Kenyan media and elsewhere this week have made me wonder how different Kenya’s social and economic life would be if less money disappeared into thin air. I read about the Comptroller and Auditor General’s last two reports, which apparently found that Sh714bn of Kenyan Treasury money over two years was uncertifiable (for readers overseas that is about $8.3bn or £5.1bn).  This means that … Read more »Kenya’s lost money

Kenya, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the ongoing threat of terrorism

It is poignant to be sitting in Nairobi as the news of Bin Laden’s death sweeps the world.  It was here and in Dar es Salaam that the mass-casualty attacks by the organisation loosely known as Al Qaeda first hit the world.  All the hallmarks of subsequent attacks were apparent in those twin bombings of US Embassies here and in Dar in August 1998.  The willingness to cause maximum civilian … Read more »Kenya, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the ongoing threat of terrorism

Kenya and Trade: The port of Mombasa

I am recently back from a visit to Mombasa and surrounding areas.  We had a chance to see business interests, the Tea Auction, some police training we are supporting, projects with community leaders and volunteers, British nationals and the tourism industry, the EU Naval Force anti-piracy operation, and also of course the Port Authority. Several times during my trip, I was asked what we thought of the political debate over … Read more »Kenya and Trade: The port of Mombasa