The absence of the outspoken Cabinet Secretary in key trade events is becoming a recurring theme.
This pattern repeated itself on July 19 when CS Kuria was notably missing from a critical trade discussion between Kenya and the United States.
During this meeting, Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative, led a delegation from the U.S., and Kuria’s absence did not go unnoticed.
Following the talks, Tai raised eyebrows when she told journalists to inquire with Kenya about Kuria’s absence, sparking speculations that his past controversial remarks may be the underlying reason.
On a different occasion, former Trade CS Adan Mohamed, who currently serves as an Economic Advisor to President William Ruto, took the lead in a trade delegation at an event attended by U.S. Ambassador Meg Whitman.
Sharing a photo from the event, Adan Mohamed noted,
“Leading the Kenya Delegation to the US-Africa Trade & Investment Roundtable in Chicago, USA.”
CS Kuria has been actively engaging with foreign nations and companies in trade discussions, often announcing these engagements on his social media platforms.
He has, however, been conspicuously missing in US-led deliberations, which the Kenyan government has not explained.
Among the current serving CSs, Kuria stands out as one of the most frequent travelers, at times claiming to represent the president and secure favorable deals to boost local manufacturing.
Kuria is known to speak his mind and occasionally utter words that rub a section of Kenyans the wrong way, something insiders say could have scratched the US the wrong way.
This is significant, as the U.S. is one of Kenya’s major export markets, with garments manufactured in the country’s leading Export Processing Zones (EPZs) accounting for a significant portion of goods exported to the world’s largest economy.
Kuria’s exclusion from these crucial events occurs at a time when Kenya is in negotiations for a free-trade agreement with the United States, particularly given the looming expiration of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in 2025.