You Couldn’t Make it Up
The Queen’s Birthday Party went off well last night, according to my sources with diplomatic plates. The usual embassy folks, hacks and politicians crammed into the garden of the British High Commissioner’s residence for mini fish and chips washed down with Boddingtons. It’s the social event of the year for Nairobi’s British contingent. (I had other business to attend to, but also tend to choke on the Loyal Toast).
Everything ran according to the script, I’m told. Adam Wood, who leaves his post as British High Commissioner later this month, made sure his speech hit all the right notes and kept far from controversy. It was only his choice of Kenyan dignitary to address the crowd that raised eyebrows.
George Saitoti, who you may remember resigned from the Kenyan cabinet two years ago after being linked to the Â£300m Goldenburg scandal, took the podium to giggles of disbelief, I’m reliably informed. He proclaimed his innocence (back then – not in his speech) and was returned to the cabinet by the end of the year. In a fantastically neat twist he was made education secretary in charge of Â£50m of British aid.
I’m told even British officials had the decency to be thoroughly embarrassed by Saitoti’s presence last night.
(The only less appropriate guest I’ve ever heard of is the David Sole Burns’ Supper I went to in Edinburgh where the organiser told me that she had actually had to insist to John Leslie that it was a bad idea for him to attend. At the time he was waiting to find out if he was going to prosecuted on charges of indecent assault. And yes, he had been booked to make the address to the ladies.)