Snub of African Leaders at the Republican U.S Congress

Chido Nwangwu writes about the refusal of the leadership of the United State House of Representatives to allow the President of Kenya, William Ruto, to address the Congress during his recent visit to the US.

The U.S  Congress members from the Republican party seem to revel in divisive and confrontational ways and means in the pursuit of their narrow goals. Those Congressional members seem stuck in a world of exclusion, of narrow partisanship. They are in a world of their own. They indulge in all manner of political and congressional rascality. They speak, most times, without proper discretion and with reckless disregard for other people, gender, economic and racial positions.

The recently elected Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican from Louisiana) has been quixotic and very narrow. He refused to invite the visiting President of Kenya, William Ruto, to address the U.S Congress.

Regardless, I must note that it’s Mr. Johnson’s prerogative.

Rep. Maxwell Frost (Democrat from Florida) has also added his voice by stating that “We haven’t had an African head of state address us in decades. So it’s a little upsetting, I think it’s a slap in the face too to our African countries.”

Ruto is one of the new generation, technocratic leaders in the major East African nation of 56 million creative people. Kenya’s young and charismatic 57-year-old President Ruto won the 2022 presidential campaign, drawing from his knowledge of governance and development strategies.

It is equally important to state that Kenya is an important country in the geo-strategic power equation and intelligence interests of the United States. In nearby Somalia, the radical Islamists al-Shabab remain a material danger to Kenya itself and Somalia.

In realistic consideration of all that is happening inside the United States of America, the Middle East/Israel/Palestine/Gaza and around the world, Speaker Johnson and other key figures in the Republican party should benefit from interacting with leaders like Ruto. It should be valuable to the Government of the United States.

After all, you may never accurately predict where the next war will come and who your unlikely allies will be. Interpersonal relationships have always served the interests of those who tap into it at the leadership levels of countries.

There have been few occasions where history was made. For example, in March 2006, Liberia’s president Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s historic speech to the joint seating of the U.S Congress. I was inside the event.

 15 years later, U.S President Joe Biden hosted then Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, October 14, 2021. Kenyatta, therefore, became the first African leader hosted at the Biden White House.

The bottomline: it’s important to maintain cordial relationships with friendly leaders and countries around the world. An overflight through another country and a friendly presidency half a world away can make the difference in a regional conflict, any conflict.

-Dr Nwangwu, is Founder of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet,, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston.

Follow him on X (Twitter) @Chido247

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