Barack Obama will not meet William Ruto separately

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice during the daily briefing at the White House on July 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. PHOTO | MANDEL NGAN |

What you need to know:

  • "He is a member of the government and so will be present at some of the events," official says.
  • Mr Obama will not travel to K'Ogelo and instead intends to meet family members at functions in Nairobi.


US President Barack Obama will not meet Deputy President William Ruto separately, the White House has confirmed.

Addressing reporters on Wednesday, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Mr Obama has "no plans for any separate engagements" with Mr Ruto.

The announcement means Mr Ruto, who is facing crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court, will only meet the US leader at public events where government officials have been invited.

"He is a member of the government and so will be present at some of the events," she added in regard to Mr Ruto.


Ms Rice also said Mr Obama will not travel to K'Ogelo and instead intends to meet family members at functions in Nairobi.

The US leader's public itinerary begins on Saturday when he will preside over the opening of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Ms Rice said.

Mr Obama is also scheduled to pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania on Saturday, and will hold a press conference and attend a state dinner in addition to taking part in a "bilateral programme" hosted by the Kenyan government.


On Sunday, Mr Obama will meet with civil society organisations in a move meant to highlight their contributions to Kenya's democracy, Ms Rice said.

Topics to be covered in the discussions include wildlife trafficking, girls' education and efforts to counter violent extremism.

However, Ms Rice did not identify the venue or the focus of the US President's speech to Kenyans people on Sunday, saying those details will be provided later.

Ms Rice noted that Kenya faces major security challenges which will be a focus of Mr Obama's agenda.


She also pointed to US concerns regarding corruption and respect for human rights.

She cited Kenya's economic achievements and the country's progress in democratic governance, while also describing Kenya as having a "competitive democratic system," and said the visit "will honour the strong ties between the US and Kenya".

Ms Rice said the US views President Uhuru Kenyatta as a democratically elected leader and drew an implicit contrast with Ethiopia, where Mr Obama will travel after departing Kenya on Sunday.


"We have stated some concern for the integrity of the electoral process" in Ethiopia, she said, noting recent results in which the ruling party won 100 per cent of the seats in the country's parliament.

Asked if Mr Obama would raise the issue of gay rights during his visit, Ms Rice said it was "something we do not shy away from underscoring". The US believes gay rights should be seen as synonymous with human rights and not limited to Africa or any other part of the world, she said.

"This is not something we think is a topic we reserve for some parts of the world and not others," said Ms Rice, adding that the US leader "will feel perfectly free to raise his concerns".


The unauthorised disclosure of the president's arrival and departure "have in no way affected our approach to or our plans for the trip," the national security advisor said.

"Often, some of this information turns out to be not entirely accurate," she added.

While acknowledging the security concerns facing Kenya, Ms Rice said that the US government "wouldn't be taking this trip if we thought security considerations precluded us from doing so".