Day Kenya Expelled Chinese Ambassador and Shut Down Embassy

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By EDDY MWANZA on 10 June 2019 - 4:03 pm
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Image showing a section of the Chinese Embassy, Nairobi Kenya FILE
Kenya's current number one partner and investor, China, has had a hand in local affairs ever since the country attained independence.

However, relations weren't always as amicable with tension culminating into a tipping point barely three years after independence.

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta suspected that the communist-based nation, alongside Russia, was conspiring behind closed doors with his former deputy-turned-rival, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, to oust him.

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Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (left) and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta during a briefing in Nairobi
The US first ambassador to Kenya, William Attwood, in his book The Reds and the Blacks maintained that the two communist nations backed Odinga after Kenyatta was rumoured to be turning sterile.

They saw the charismatic leader with a gift for pulling mammoth crowds as the automatic successor once Kenyatta was deemed unfit to rule the nation.

Their sinister plans made their way to Kenyatta's desk prompting him to embark on a mission to root out all conspirators starting with the expulsion of the third secretary in the Chinese embassy, Yao Chun in March 1966.

“The first indication I had from Kenyatta that he didn’t trust Jaramogi was in mid-June when he called me over to discuss outside financing of Kenya’s politicians. What about Odinga’s subsidies from the Chinese and Russians? I know about them,” an excerpt of the book disclosed.

Mzee Jomo's paranoia was fueled even further on May 17, 1967, when a convoy of 40 trucks loaded with Chinese weapons was intercepted by Kenyan police after they crashed through a roadblock at night in Western Kenya.

This was the final straw and Kenyatta duly evicted six Chinese and Russian diplomats and a couple of journalists posted to Nairobi from the communist bloc countries were ordered out of the country.

Reports by Attwood further divulged that Odinga’s slush fund for the upcoming election was estimated to be more than Ksh15,000,000, much of it in green dollars provided by the Chinese embassy in Dar es Salaam.

It is after learning this that Mzee Jomo then went ahead and ordered for the immediate closure of the Chinese embassy in Kenya on June 1967.

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Jomo Kenyatta (r) greets Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
 

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