By Njaramba Gichuki
I must state that I have great respect for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I also respect former US President Bill Clinton. As it has been said elsewhere, I subscribe to the thinking that he is the greatest “ African” president America has ever had. However, Ms Clinton’s recent visit to Kenya left a lot to be desired because of the bluntness with which she pursued American interests.
Whereas she came as a top diplomat on behalf of his boss President Barack Obama to deliver his message, it is not lost on us that she cannot, at her level, pursue what she does not believe in. Media reports indicate that she expressed reservations about Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto vying for president.
Reports indicate that she hinted America would impose sanctions on the country if the two vied and won. This cannot go unchallenged.
Sometimes I wonder whether the US believes in the democracy they preach about every time. Or perhaps their ‘democracy for export’ is quite different from their ‘democracy for home consumption’. Unless I’m completely wrong, democracy is people-driven. It does not matter whether the people are right or wrong; the word of the people prevails.
I do not want to go on and on about sovereignty; some would say we have heard that already. I also do not intend to belabour the point of the international law principle of non-interference with the domestic affairs of other states; some would say it happens all the time.
Rather I’m appealing to our sense of human dignity. This is the last thing we have and if we lose it, we lose everything. We have lost our economic and political rights to foreign interests. We have to consult all and sundry before we take any action at home.
We do this without acknowledging one fact; every nation has its own interests that are paramount and will achieve them through subjugation of others. A keen observer would see the negative effects we suffer as a result of the ideals imposed on us by the West. Think critically of the SAPs and ESAF.
It is a high time we asked ourselves of the dent to human dignity that is caused by having Kenyans to pay for accessing public toilets in towns; in a country where citizens do not have enough to eat. Poor Kenyans cannot access clean water in towns; this in a country where we have rivers and lakes. All this, as a consequence of Western-driven “reforms”.
It is a high time Kenyans and Africans in general, fought against neocolonialism. Dictatorship is abhorrent. Crimes against humanity are indeed crimes against God. But who said that only the West could see them and deal with them. Are we so daft that we cannot make decisions on our own without being prodded by the West?
I subscribe to the principle that all human beings are equal. Indeed I believe that we are all created in the image of God. My major concern is that some assume that some ‘images’ are clearer than others. As I, among others, have said in the past, the decision on who becomes President of Kenya is a decision only Kenyans can make.
Indeed it would not matter who becomes the president of as long as it is the popular choice. That is the key tenet of democracy, which we all subscribe to. We clearly go wrong sometimes. But that does not give any other person the right to lord it over us. We are not saying that friends should not correct us when we go wrong; but it must be friendly advice.