In a remarkable celebration that fostered unity and pride, Ambassador Helen Gichuhi, the newly appointed Charger d’affaires at the Kenyan Embassy in Paris, extended a heartfelt invitation to Kenyans residing in France to commemorate the 60th Madaraka Day on Friday, June 2, 2023. Over 80 Kenyans living in France, including families with their children, enthusiastically attended the event, expressing their excitement, happiness, and appreciation for the long-overdue invitation from the Kenyan embassy.
The last time the embassy extended such an invitation was when outgoing Ambassador Professor Judy Wakhungu assumed office on August 17, 2018. Thus, this gathering was particularly significant for Kenyans, who eagerly embraced the opportunity to connect with their cultural heritage and celebrate their national day.
Ambassador Gichuhi, in her heartfelt remarks during the event, expressed her joy and gratitude for the attendees’ presence despite the short notice. She emphasized that the 60th Madaraka Day marked a historic milestone in Kenya’s journey towards self-rule, signifying 60 years of independence and progress. The ambassador called upon the attendees to renew their commitment to the principles that guided the struggle for independence and to channel their energy towards transforming the socio-economic lives of all Kenyans.
Acknowledging the valuable role played by the diaspora community, Ambassador Gichuhi hailed them as esteemed ambassadors of Kenya in the global arena. She commended their contributions to the economy through remittances, technology transfer upon their return, and investments that have become vital pillars for the nation’s development. The ambassador humbly apologized for instances where the government had failed to adequately address the needs and concerns of the diaspora, acknowledging that there were times when their voices went unheard or were misunderstood.
Ambassador Gichuhi highlighted the significant progress made under President Ruto’s administration in recognizing the importance of the diaspora. She mentioned the establishment of the State Department for Diaspora Affairs, which actively engages with Kenyans residing in countries of accreditation, including France, Portugal, Serbia, Monaco, and the Holy See. The ambassador informed the audience about the ongoing worldwide outreach by the Diaspora Department, which aims to provide mobile consular services. Discussions are underway to ensure that the diaspora in countries of accreditation can benefit from this initiative, and the ambassador urged them to avail themselves of these services in large numbers once the dates are finalized.
Furthermore, Ambassador Gichuhi revealed that the Diaspora Department, in collaboration with key stakeholders, is diligently working on implementing a centralized system to enhance communication and provide better services to Kenyans living abroad.
A notable area of focus for the newly appointed PS for Diaspora, Ms. Roseline Njogu, is diaspora mental health. Recognizing the challenges faced by some individuals, such as coping with loneliness during winter or experiencing clinical depression, Ambassador Gichuhi expressed the embassy’s commitment to creating a sense of togetherness. She humorously compared the embassy to a mother hen, ensuring that all “chicks” – including the registered and unregistered, men and women – receive support and warmth. The ambassador emphasized that every Kenyan mattered and was an integral part of the Kenyan family, regardless of their circumstances.
Expressing gratitude to the Kenya France Umbrella Association (KIFUA), Ambassador Gichuhi emphasized the importance of consolidating interactions with the diaspora through such umbrella bodies. Through KIFUA’s extensive network, the embassy aims to reach every Kenyan in France and other countries of accreditation, providing support and assistance in their time of need.
The embassy expects Kenyans to register with the mission, ensuring that their presence is known and their data is securely recorded. By doing so, the government can better serve every single Kenyan and provide tailored services