RT-Engels: 17-06-2024,

By Dr. Westen K. Shilaho, scholar of International Relations, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

President William Ruto was elected Kenya’s head of state in August 2022 and since then he has maintained his country’s relations with the West, especially Britain and the US. He has visited these countries two and four times respectively since his inauguration, and hosted Britain’s King Charles on the monarch’s first official visit abroad after his coronation. Ruto has also visited Israel, the foremost Western ally, and has publicly expressed support for the Jewish state, a stance at odds with the African Union (AU), which has condemned West Jerusalem over the war in Gaza. In contrast, Ruto has visited China, Kenya’s largest trading partner, just once within the same period. Initially, Ruto appeared to espouse Pan-Africanism, earning praise from admirers across the continent. He had decried Africa’s humiliation by the West, condemning the international financial architecture and other neocolonial tendencies that have contributed to Africa’s poverty, instability, and underdevelopment.

In due course, however, rhetoric has prevailed over commitment. In President Ruto, the West, specifically the US, has found a dependable ally in Africa. Ruto’s state visit to the US last month, the first in 16 years by an African head of state, was significant in this regard. Symbolically, it underscored Kenya’s longstanding relations with Washington, skewed as they are. The most prominent outcome of this visit was the US designation of Kenya as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA). The US bestows this status to a country which,

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