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3 peculiarities as Uhuru Kenyatta visited Uganda President Museveni

Kenya’s fourth president Uhuru Kenyatta met with Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at State House, Entebbe on August 4, 2023.

President Museveni later announced he had hosted Mr Kenyatta in his capacity as the Facilitator of the East Africa Community-led Nairobi Peace Process.

“Besides the security situation in the East African Community (EAC) region, the two leaders deliberated on the ongoing Peace Processes geared towards the realization of a lasting peace and stability in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” read a statement from the Office of the 4th President of the Republic of Kenya.

However, during this courtesy call to Uganda on Saturday, three peculiarities were immediately noticeable.

  1. Military escort- Uhuru Kenyatta was received with a military escort from the airport to State House Uganda. Military escorts are typically provided for high-ranking government officials, visiting foreign dignitaries, and other individuals who require enhanced security during their movements. Despite Uhuru’s former office and current role as a peace ambassador, his socio-political stature in East Africa was not lost on Ugandan authorities when they provided him with highly trained military personnel protection. In many countries, visiting presidents and dignitaries are often provided with elite police protection, it is rare to see military personnel included in the convoys.
  2. President Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta sitting in the same seats- It has often been the tradition that whenever a president meets with his subordinates or guests from various regions and industries, his seat is often separated and different from everyone else’s. The difference in seats is a sign of their high profile position and ranking in society, is an expected protocol in governments, makes them strategically visible and prominent in public settings. However, in this instance, both President Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta sat in identical seats while one other delegate in the great room meeting with them sat in a completely different seat. It would appear President Museveni did not care for protocol and ranking in this particular meeting with Uhuru Kenyatta.
  3. The leaders’ shoe games- A courtesy call is a formal visit or meeting made by one individual or group to another as a gesture of politeness, respect, or goodwill. They are often made by diplomats, government officials, or dignitaries to counterparts or hosts in another country or organization. The purpose of a courtesy call is to establish or maintain diplomatic or friendly relations, discuss matters of mutual interest, and promote open communication between the parties involved. However, in this instance, the meeting appeared to be too casual judging by both leaders’ shoe games. Uhuru Kenyatta arrived dressed in a smart casual look but paired it off with sneakers while President Museveni welcomed the Kenyan leader while donning open sandals. All around them, everyone else was dressed to the nines in suits and ties and buckled shoes.
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