The U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter has incurred the wrath of many Africans on social media after he shared a picture he took with two school children who were denied visas for a trip to the U.S.
“In the visa line yesterday I met this fine young boy and girl. They are Kenya Chess Champions! Although a trip to the US was not possible this time I reminded them that They Are Champions & we are friends! This is the future of Kenya. #USAmarafiki,” he posted with the photo on Wednesday.
This post didn’t go down well with many Kenyans and Africans at large who questioned the reason for denying them visas while condemning his act of friendliness despite robbing the chess champions of their dream trip.
The ambassador, who became popular since his arrival into the East African country for his tweets in Swahili and association with locals, responded to some of the tweets explaining why they were denied and the stringent visa acquisition process.
Without giving an actual reason, he said in a series of tweets that there are unique circumstances to most cases like theirs and he was “consoling them because their visa situation was not going to change. All to do was encourage them and brag on them.”
“I think the USG needs to better manage people’s expectations on visas. I hear what you are saying. I will get some people together to discuss this and look for some good ideas. Why apply if you won’t qualify? Why pay the fee?” he replied to another tweet about the U.S. government’s penchant for shattering people’s expectations.
On the reasons why he gave them hope despite the embassy’s decision to deny them visas, he replied: “They are children. You don’t know the situation of their parents or guardians. We take all cases seriously.”
He defended his decision for posting their pics on social media saying: “Permission was granted. They are champions and everybody knows it. Including you. Celebrate it. Let’s not just criticize.”
Ambassador McCarter’s replies did not end the endless frustrations about the U.S. visa acquisition from being shared and his tweet transcended borders and got many social media users commenting about the situation.
Here are some more reactions to the Ambassador’s tweet:
The hopes of those kids were crushed when they were denied the visa. There’s a difference between doing something to support their dreams and plainly telling them that their dreams are valid. They are just kids who don’t understand why a paper denied them a chance to shine.— Milkah (@Milkah2) June 27, 2019
Visa’s get denied at times for various reasons but in my experience US-embassy has been among the fairest in issuing visa’s for Kenyan athletes lately.— Michel Boeting (@one4onesports) June 27, 2019
Good rapport building with these two kids. I hope you can make the trip possible. Come on I thought America can afford this…— Abu Shaahid (@ShaahidAbu) June 26, 2019