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Senate wants Kenya to mend diplomatic relations with Morocco, establish Embassy

Senators now want Kenya to mend its diplomatic ties with the Kingdom of Morocco in the wake of perceived ‘sour’ relations between the two countries.

Speaking in the debating chamber last Thursday, the lawmakers lamented that Kenya was yet to establish an Embassy in Morocco despite the immense benefits the country stands to gain.

“It is important as a country to have a physical diplomatic mission to assist the foreign department to be able to gather intelligence about the economy of that country,” Narok Senator Ledama Olekina said.

The senate minority whip said that Kenya stands to reap big from Morocco thus the need to establish an Embassy there to unlock more benefits.

In September last year, Ruto triggered what could pass as a diplomatic row after he tweeted that Kenya would no longer recognise the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), a breakaway from the Kingdom of Morocco

However, the tweet was later deleted, triggering confusion on just which way the country’s foreign policy will go.

With the tweet, the President had departed from Kenya’s long-held policy.

“I know we have challenges given that there was some confusion on our diplomatic ties with the country of Songhai, which is neighbouring Morocco,” Olekina said.

Migori Senator Eddy Oketch triggered the debate when he sought answers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the relations between the two countries.

“The Ministry should clarify whether the Government of Kenya plans to establish an Embassy in the Kingdom,” Oketch said.

The lawmaker wants the Ministry, through the Senate’s foreign relations committee that was tasked to inquire into the matter, the modalities considered in the process as well as the projected timelines for the same.

“The committee should provide an update on the status of diplomatic relations between Kenya and the Kingdom of Morocco, explaining any efforts made by the Government of Kenya to resolve any longstanding issues between the two countries,” he said.

Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale asked the government to move with speed and formalize the relationship with Morocco.

The majority whip held that Morocco is an economic powerhouse in Africa, and thus Kenya cannot afford to sever ties with it.

“It must occur to us that Morocco, a country in Africa, is the fifth largest economy in Africa and for Kenya and Ethiopia, we are in position six. To sit and fail to have a formal relationship with Africa’s fifth biggest economy is to lose the obvious,” he said.

For his part, Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi said there was no justification at all for the Government of Kenya not to have an embassy in Morocco.

He said all the leading economies in Africa have embassies in Morocco. They include Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and Algeria.

“This is because Morocco is a big and flourishing economy. This country needs to benefit by having a diplomatic engagement with Morocco,” he said.

Majority leader Aaron Cheruiyot said Kenya enjoyed good relations with Morocco until last year when the President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, attended Ruto’s inauguration.

“To the best of my knowledge, that matter has since been sufficiently addressed,” the Kericho senator said.

Source: The Star