During a press conference in Kenya, alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, President Kenyatta struggled to remember the name of the former Foreign Secretary who visited the country last year.
Becoming the first UK Prime Minister to visit the country since Margaret Thatcher in 1988, Mrs May was on the final leg of her three-day African tour aimed at boosting Britain’s trade and diplomatic presence on the continent.
President Kenyatta began the press conference by saying he was glad May had “honoured our invitation to come and see for yourself our country and continent that has changed in the last nearly four decades since a UK prime minister visited.”
The two leaders were appearing at State House in Nairobi when President Kenyatta was asked about an agreement to allow stolen funds in Britain to be returned to Kenya to fund health, education and other development projects.
In reply, he said: “Last year, if you recall, the foreign secretary – then Boris, erm, Boris, Boris Johnson – the bicycle guy … Boris Johnson was here with ambulances. These ambulances were bought courtesy of funds that had been seized, returned and utilised to buy ambulances which were distributed across the country.
“I believe this only strengthens that and the ability of our two countries and legal systems to be able to work together to ensure that any assets that may have been acquired in the United Kingdom – that are associated with corruption or any other such crime – are successfully returned and put to use for the benefit of the people of the republic.”
Mrs May appeared to smile wryly as the president struggled to recall Johnson’s name, although earlier on her trip she had cited “the number of visits that the former foreign secretary made just last year to Africa” as an example of the UK’s commitment to the continent.
Johnson resigned as foreign secretary last month over May’s Chequers Brexit plan, but he is one of the favourites to replace Mrs May if the Prime Minister suffers a vote of no confidence and is forced to fight a leadership challenge.