UN boss Antonio Guterres visits Kenya, to meet Ruto

António Guterres

UN chief Antonio Guterres (centre) when he arrived in Kenya on May 3, 2023.

Photo credit: Courtesy | Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Ministry

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in Kenya for a two-day official visit. During his visit, the UN chief is expected to hold talks with President William Ruto.

The visit comes weeks after a trove of highly confidential documents leaked from the US military’s tightly guarded registries suggested that at least one member of the UN's top brass has a deep mistrust for President Ruto. 

Confidential chit-chat between Guterres and his deputy Amina Mohammed in mid-February indicates that the US could have been spying on the two bosses for an unspecified period of time.

In one of the conversations that seemingly occurred after the December 2022 African leaders summit in Washington D.C., Ms Mohammed allegedly told her boss, Mr Guterres, that President Ruto is “ruthless” and that she does not trust him. At the time of the leak, no context was available regarding Ms Mohammed's comments. There is also no confirmation of whether the conversation was formal or casual chit-chat between two colleagues.

The episode thrust the country on the path of a potential diplomatic storm as Nairobi is a key hub for UN operations.

After the leak, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric released a statement saying the situation was a "horrendous distortion" of Mohammed's comments and had been "taken out of context."

"She has the highest regard for President Ruto and his leadership," said Mr Dujarric.

The UN had also indicated that Ms Mohammed would visit Nairobi, and reassured the Kenyan government of "their respect and regard for President Ruto."