Deputy President William Ruto has apologised for a remark made concerning the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which caused a diplomatic tiff.
DP Ruto apologises over DRC gaffe, asks Kenyans to 'milk' opportunity
DP Ruto regrets the misunderstanding that arose from the speech
Sentiments by DP Ruto suggested that the Congolese were mostly musicians who do not own cows and it triggered uproar in DRC.
The deputy president, through his communications office, clarified that his address to Nyeri farmers was informal and his choice of language was only meant to underscore the opportunity available to the dairy farmers in Kenya.
He added that he had not intended to disrespect the people of DRC saying he regretted any misunderstanding that arose from the speech.
Dr Ruto also called on both Kenya and DRC to 'milk' an opportunity for cooperation in agriculture and trade, despite the tension he had caused.
“We are excited that at this stage, a greater market exists, offering possibilities of mutual gain for the countries of our region. Our leaders in UDA continue to encourage our people to seize all emerging opportunities and harness our regional integration to exchange goods, services, skills and technologies,” concluded a statement from WSR Presidential Campaign Communication Director Hussein Mohamed.
Statement from Kenya’s Embassy in DRC
The Kenyan Embassy in DRC issued a statement on the matter on February 16, after a prominent Congolese dignitary treated DP Ruto's remark as an affront.
Confirming that DP Ruto’s sentiments had resulted in a diplomatic tiff, Kenya's Ambassador in Kinshasa George Masafu, outlined measures taken by the consulate.
“The Embassy has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi on the negative reactions that the comments have triggered among the business community and general populace in the DRC,” the statement read in part.
Amb. Masafu further renounced the controversial remarks on behalf of Kenya and assured that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would resolve the matter.
The ambassador explained that the history between Kenya and DRC is entrenched through government to government frameworks and people to people partnerships that have been built in the last years.
“The Embassy reassures the Government and people of the DRC that the Government of Kenya will continue encouraging the citizens of both our countries to continue engaging and building strong partnerships especially at this historic moment when the DRC prepares to join the East African Community,” he concluded.
Dr Ruto made the remarks on Monday, February 14, during a campaign meeting in Nyeri County where he attempted to illustrate to his supporters that Kenya’s agricultural produce has a ready market abroad.
“There is a market in DRC which has a population of 90 million people and no single cow,” the DP alleged
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