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Why coming back to Nairobi is so nostalgic for British Foreign Secretary

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took time to reminisce on his earliest memories of Nairobi before he began his portion of remarks at a press conference alongside Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed in Nairobi.

Looking out from under the awning at the Foreign Affairs ministry, Mr Johnson pointed at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre and recalled standing there as a little boy.

“I first came to Nairobi when I was a little boy and I recall standing in a tall building over there and looking at Jomo Kenyatta,” he said.

“There has been progress and extraordinary success of Kenya today. It is really rather a moving thing. But it’s also great to see that the partnership between the UK and Kenya is robust and flourishing,” he added.

Mr Johnson applauded the deployment of the military to Laikipia to help police restore law and order.

Mr Johnson said he had met representatives of United Kingdom nationals, who have borne the brunt of invasions of their vast ranches by herders, and asked Kenyans to respect the sanctity of their title deeds to the land.

He spoke at a press conference alongside Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed after a meeting at the ministry headquarters in Nairobi.

“Let me say how much I value the announcement today on strong measures by the Kenyan government has taken to deal with disturbances that threaten farmers in regions of this country, including UK nationals,” said Mr Johnson.

He described the ongoing conflict in Laikipia and other parts of the Rift Valley as a “complex question and there are many factors at work that have caused the conflict.”

“What is apparent to the government of Kenya, and you heard President Kenyatta himself say it very powerfully, is that there has got to be absolute respect for titles to land and people’s property. Kenya has been very emphatic about that and I’m very glad about that and welcome that and I respect the announcement that was made today on measures being taken. I hope very much they will give reassurance to the farmers and allow them to go back to their business,” he said.


Tristan Voorspuy, a British national who was one of the co-owners of Sosian Ranch in Laikipia, was shot dead as he ventured out on his land to view cottages reported to have been burnt by the invaders.

This drew international focus to the invasions President Kenyatta said have partly been encouraged by politicians.

Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel is among suspects arrested in connection with the killing of the rancher.

On Brexit, Mr Johnson said Kenyan products would continue to be charged lower taxes even after Britain formally leaves the European Union.

“Years ago there were very heavy taxes on Kenyan agricultural products of many kinds. It would be crazy to go back to a regime of tariffs that will be a barrier to trade,” he said.

“We now have an opportunity to do more to open up trade with Kenya and these incredible growing markets that we see particularly in the Commonwealth,” he added.

He said 75 per cent of the coffee taken in London comes from Kenya along with flowers and other fresh produce.

Mr Johnson also said cooperation between the Kenyan and British military would continue as long as Kenya finds it useful. The National Assembly last year approved a new agreement between Kenya and her former colonial master.

The Foreign Secretary earlier watched a joint exercise between the Kenyan army and their British counterparts.

“It was really good to see that partnership,” he said.