Tony Blair to advise Kenya’s controversial president Uhuru Kenyatta
Tony Blair, the former prime minister, was pictured on Friday shaking hands with Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president who was indicted by the International Criminal Court for the deaths of hundreds of his countrymen in post-election violence in 2007.
Mr Blair is understood to be on a tour of East Africa after addressing a large audience in Cape Town, South Africa, at the city’s annual mining conference.
After news of his visit to Mr Kenyatta appeared on the Kenyan presidency’s feed on the social networking site Twitter, a spokesman for Mr Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative charity confirmed that he is in talks to place advisors in his government.
“AGI is in the early stages of providing support to a Presidential Delivery Unit,” the spokesman said. “We’ll be working shoulder to shoulder with Kenyan public servants on the government’s priorities for improving the lives of ordinary Kenyans.”
Mr Blair’s not-for-profit AGI currently advises six other African governments, including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda.
Mr Kenyatta would not be the first controversial politician he has worked with. Mr Blair has repeatedly praised Paul Kagame despite repeated allegations that the Rwandan president has ordered the death of scores of opposition politicians and critics.
In Malawi, Mr Blair advised the government of Joyce Banda – who had been praised by development partners for rolling back the corruption and profligacy of her predecessor – but AGI pulled out at the same time as a fresh corruption scandal engulfed the country during her tenure.
In a series of photographs posted on the social networking site Twitter, Kenya’s presidency showed Mr Blair smiling broadly as he shook Mr Kenyatta’s hand and was given a presentation about the government’s programme.
Mr Kenyatta was put on the trial by The Hague-based ICC for allegedly funding and directing aspects of the violence that killed 1,300 people in the weeks following Kenya’s disputed 2007 elections.
In a report released by the ICC last month, he was alleged to have not only organised and funded a paramilitary force to intimidate and attack voters suspected of supporting the opposition but later had members of the force itself eliminated “in order to suppress the evidence”.
The charges against Mr Kenyatta were however shelved after ICC prosecutors said witnesses had been bribed and intimidated, and the Kenyan government had refused to hand over documents vital to the case.