Secret of JKs visit to the White House -And how Kenya seems to have got it all mixed up THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam IT has now emerged how and why President Jakaya Kikwete got invited to the White House in Washington DC for a meeting with US President Barack Obama. According to Stephanie Engle, director of Water for Life Global which is a US non-profit organisation that hosted an event in honour of President Kikwete, the White House extended the invitation to the visiting Tanzanian president on learning of his presence in the American capital. He was invited to meet President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and (IMF Managing Director) Dominique Strauss-Kahn when the same entities became aware that he was the guest of honour at an event hosted by us in Washington DC, Ms Engle told THISDAY. The event was to be marked by President Kikwete being presented with new-technology water purification equipment by the US organisation for use in Tanzania. The latest clarification by Water for Life Global officials has been made in the wake of reports that neighbouring Kenya was not happy with Kikwete becoming the first African president to be invited for a meeting with the still relatively-new US president at the White House � despite the fact that Obamas ancestral home is in Kenya. According to various sections of the Kenyan media, the gesture by Obama amounted to a snub of Nairobi in favour of Tanzania. Tanzania elbows Kenya to become darling of the US, asserted a headline in the Kenyan English-language newspaper Daily Nation, which went on to claim that the honour given to Kikwete will further highlight Kenyas diminished status on the international scene. Another leading Kenyan daily, The Standard, intimated that Obama held secret talks with Kikwete on the subject of Kenya. Stated The Standard article: And even as the US increasingly lumps Kenya with failed states in the region, the disturbing aspect of the unfolding drama is this countrys inability to tap and take advantage of the US presidents roots.... The one man who is running away first with possible political and economic advantage from Obama, is Kikwete, it added, asserting further that Kikwete had also enjoyed closer ties with Obamas predecessor George W. Bush. Tanzanias clout and fortune (in this regard) have correspondingly risen as Kenyas plummet, the newspaper said. But in her statement to THISDAY, Ms Engle revealed that her organisation had also sought to gift Kenya with the same (water purification) technology via President Obamas ancestral village of Kogelo, Kenya. Explaining further, she said: When it became apparent that White House representation was not forthcoming, Water for Life Global staff revisited the Kenyan embassy (in Washington), asking the staff there to send representation to accept the unit. �Despite our effort, we were told that no one in the (Kenyan) embassy was available as much of the staff would be in Chicago and others on holiday. No one? No one was available? Perhaps...but I wondered if the quietly escalating coolness between the US and Kenya was part of the reason for the unavailability of any staff members to participate for just a few moments in an event that was minutes away from the (Kenyan) embassy on R street, NW, WDC, Ms Engle said. A statement issued by the White House on the Obama-Kikwete meeting said the two presidents had a valuable discussion on a range of issues, including approaches to enhancing the US�Tanzanian partnership; improving development policy in health, education, and agriculture; and working with other partners in the region to solve some of the most pressing conflicts on the African continent.