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Economy

Kenya turns blind eye on Trump’s obscene comment on Africa

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe has said Kenya has no problem with an obscene word used by US President Donald Trump to describe African countries and Haiti, which has triggered global condemnation.

Mr Kiraithe on Thursday told journalists that the statement by Mr Trump was not directed to Kenya.

Mr Trump was widely condemned by many African countries and international rights organisations for the comments depicting that immigrants from Africa and Haiti come from “s***hole” countries. “The statement was not an official matter that, say, is related to the relationship with the government. We enjoy a cordial relationship.

“We are studying the context in which these statements were made and see whether it is worth the attention,” he said.

He noted in a statement that the remarks by Mr Trump were not official government-to-government communication.

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Mr Kiraithe’s statement, which is the first official response by the government since the remarks were reported last week, however differs with the position of a number of African countries and the African Union, which have asked Mr Trump to withdraw and apologise.

Leaders from across the world also voiced their condemnations, and accused the US President of racism.

Some African nations like South Africa, Botswana and Nigeria summoned the US ambassadors over the remarks.

Mr Trump had in a meeting with lawmakers in the White House dismissed Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as “shithole countries” whose inhabitants are not desirable for US immigration.

But Mr Trump has denied using the vulgar terms, tweeting: “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used.” African Union chairperson Moussa Faki last week said he was alarmed by the comments.

“Considering the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the US during the Atlantic slave trade, this flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice,” he said through his spokesperson Ebba Kalondo.

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