On this occasion of the 57th Anniversary of our Independence, on behalf of Government of the Republic of Kenya, the staff at the Embassy, and on my own behalf I wish to convey my sincere gratitude to all Kenyans resident in the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus and the Commonwealth of Independent States. It is really a honour to convey to all of you, a message of congratulations and best wishes to your good health in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On this day, we not only celebrate the fruits of the struggle of those who sacrificed their lives to secure the liberation of our country, but also the achievements we have made as a people to build our democracy and determine our own destiny. Jamhuri day is also a day for us to further strengthen our efforts to overcome the social and economic challenges occasioned by the COVID pandemic. As we join Kenyans at home in marking this auspicious occasion, we take pride in honouring the efforts of the government to hasten economic recovery through the big 4 agenda.
During the year, we have had to change many of our programs as we adapt to the new normal. As you have noted that we never had the opportunity to organize the Jamhuri Diplomatic Reception as is always the practice. We also had to call-off the Diaspora Consultative meeting which was to be held at the Embassy’s premises. I’m optimistic that as we move to the new year and with possibility of availability of vaccines, we will find time to makeup for what has been lost.
In a recent meeting by the African Heads of Mission, many issues were raised that affect the welfare and security of African students in Russia. Quite a number of students have lost their lives under mysterious circumstances. These cases are currently under investigation by the Russian Authorities and we look forward to their finalization. In this regard, I wish to appeal to all of you to bring to the attention of the Embassy, any issues of concern that affect your welfare and threaten your security. The Embassy will not hesitate to address the same with relevant Russian Authorities.
I wish to commend all of your for showing high level of maturity and patriotism during the year. No adverse reports have been received by the Embassy on the wrongful conduct by any Kenyan.
As an Embassy, we are cognizant of the plight of our students in the Russian Federation. The Government of Russia offers partial scholarships to Kenyan students. While we appreciate this great gesture, we also understand that the stipend is not enough to sustain the ever growing cost of living in Russia. In this regard, the Mission will continue to not only seek for the increase of the number of scholarships but to make full scholarships.
Finally, I wish to challenge you that as much as you concentrate on your academic pursuits, which is a great thing and your purpose for being here, kindly find time to acquaint yourself with the necessary Kenya Government policies that affect your welfare. The one I have in mind among others is the Kenya Government Diaspora Policy which is available at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya website. Also find time to check on what other Kenyan Diaspora Organizations in other parts of the world are doing. These antidotes will help adding value and advancing your effort in building a better Kenya for us all. Occasionally we will be organizing sessions for you to explicate and help you understand how you can benefit from these policies while you are here.
With these remarks, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
Mr. Maurice O. A. Okoth
EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA,
MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION.