President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, October 1 denied reports of the US military seeking permission to conduct drone airstrikes in Kenya.
Uhuru insisted that even if the deal from the US military came forward he would not hesitate to reject the proposal.
“There is no such situation, the authorization which has happened in the past of drone strikes on terrorist bases has been in Somalia but we are not at the level of having terrorist incursions.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in an interview with France 24 on Thursday 1 October 2020. YOUTUBE
“The US has not even requested for authority to launch drone strikes within the Kenyan territory,” said Uhuru in an interview with France24.
Kenyatta added that the threat to the country had sharply diminished but Somalia’s Islamist group al shabaab remained the main danger.
The President also noted that the country is yet to experience a major terrorist attack since the DusitD2 complex attack that occurred from 15 to 16 January 2019 in Westlands, Nairobi.
He, however, admitted that the country was suffering from regular border attacks from al shabaab but maintained that the country had a good diplomatic relationship with Somalia.
The Head of State was non-committal to a date when Kenya would withdraw their troops from Somalia.
“As we have always said, we will stay working together with Amisom and the international community but it is impossible to say when at the moment,” Uhuru stated.
The drone proposal from the US came after an attack back in January 2020 on the airfield at Manda Bay that killed three Americans and caused damage worth billions of shillings.
When the US commanders immediately launched a retaliatory attack in the Manda Bay incident, they did not strike back as the militants eluded them after retreating to Somali territory.
The officials recognized that they lacked guidelines to conduct drone strikes in Kenya should another attack be launched.
President Uhuru Kenyatta (in suit) inspects a guard of honour at Moi Barracks Eldoret on Thursday, September 24, 2020 TWITTER
He said he had ordered a relaxation of restrictions in Kenya because the trend of infections was improving, but he said schools would remain closed for now and refused to give a date for their reopening.
Kenyatta admitted the country’s economy had taken a hit, but said Kenya had fared better than many countries and added that he was optimistic for the future of the economy.
He vowed to leave no stone unturned in the investigation into possible misuse of Covid-19 funds by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, stressing that investigations had been launched and would be pursued wherever they might lead.
The president hailed the business deals signed in France for infrastructure projects in Kenya, stressing that they would be financed by the private sector and, as such, not add any more government debt.
With regards to terrorism, Kenyatta said the threat to his country had sharply diminished but that Somalia’s Islamist group al Shabaab remained the main danger.
He did not commit to a date for Kenyan troops to withdraw from Somalia. He strongly denied reports that the US military has sought authorisation to carry out drone strikes inside Kenya. He stressed that if such a request were made, he would refuse it.
Asked about an advisory issued by the Chief Justice to dissolve parliament because gender equality measures had not been enacted, he said that the decision was now before the courts, adding that dissolving parliament was not his intention.
Regarding his tense relation with Deputy President William Ruto, Kenyatta warned that now was not the time to campaign for the 2022 presidential election but instead to work to improve inclusiveness by reaching out to the opposition.
He said such a move was not aimed at weakening his vice president. However, Kenyatta refused to commit to support him in 2022 like both men had agreed to do when they decided to run together on a joint ticket back in 2012.
Finally, Kenyatta said he would not seek to change the constitution to seek a third presidential term and that he did not wish to remain in power, even if a position of prime minister was created for him through a constitutional reform currently under consideration.