Since 1902

By KIRATU KAMUNYA

The recent visit by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to Kenya has elicited varied responses. This comes in the wake of reports that during her visit, the diplomat sought to evaluate Kenya’s scorecard on various fronts.

There is nothing wrong for countries that enjoy bilateral relations to compare notes on a wide range of issues in a bid to enlighten their engagement. This is because bilateral relations are supposed to be under constant review in order to improve, review or even renew them.

But is this the position between Kenya and the US? There is no doubt whatsoever that behind the closed doors, the meeting between leading Kenyan officials and USdignitaries discussed matters of mutual importance to the two nations.

The issue of regional peace and security must have dominated discussions especially now when Kenyan troops are involved in Operation Linda Nchi in Somalia as part of the Amisom. In spite of these beneficial talks, the US in the end was itching to pontificate to our leaders on what has now become its pet subject: the need for good governance and holding free and fair elections.

Subscribing to democratic principles is important and Kenya knows it. She has made remarkable progress in this direction. It is true Kenya has faced challenges in the past.

But it is also true that we have been able to pick up ourselves, dust off and move on with the journey of pursuing the Kenyan dream. Kenya as a member of the global citizenry is keen on working towards meeting universal aspirations in the areas of governance, rule of law, democracy and human rights.

The world must be flattered to learn about the progress we are making, but we are not doing it in order to appease the international community. Our government is a government by Kenyans for Kenyans.

There are challenges Kenya has to grapple with and the least of these is how favourably we are viewed by the global society. This should only come us a bonus but should not be our main consideration! The scorecard on how well our government is faring should be evaluated by the United Counties of Kenya and not the US.

In order to realise her economic objectives, Kenya has made substantial progress in reviving the economy and outlining an economic blueprint in Vision 2030, which is serving as the radar for our economic ship.

This is after recording huge successes in economic recovery that saw the economy hit the 7%growth mark before the onset of post-election violence in 2008. Remarkably, we have  bounced back and our economy is firmly on the growth course.

On the political front, Kenya was quick to learn from her past mistakes following the violence of 2008. As a result, we have put measures in place that would forestall a repeat of such ignominy. The highlight of these measures is of course the enactment of the new constitution.

Sick man of Asia

The Constitution heralds a radical transformation of our institutions. There are gigantic changes in the philosophy of governance as we have known it before.

Emphasis has been laid on independence of the Judiciary, effective representation in the bicameral Legislature, transparency and accountability of the Executive, independent commissions to oversee conduct of public affairs including elections, decentralising power and resources to the grassroots through devolution and putting in place mechanisms to hold serving elected and appointed officials to account.

This is the beautiful image of the emerging Kenya. It is a far cry from the failing or failed state some would wish to depict! Kenya has come of age, taken leadership in this region and beyond with these bold steps. With the strong human resource pool and now, discovery of natural ones like oil, the future looks bright.

With the rapid global economic and political changes, it is time the US reviewed its policy of engagement with foreign nations. Yesterday’s economic minnows are today’s economic and political giants.

China for long regarded as the “sick man of Asia” but is today the second biggest economy and an emerging super power. The same case with countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, UAE, India, Russia among others, which are now shaping decisions on a global scale.

The Kenya of today could be the India of tomorrow and the India of today will emerge as a gargantuan economic and political machine that can leverage the unsuspecting powers who appear complacent.

When Hilary sought to know the government’s position on the candidature of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in light of the ICC trials, Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa is reported to have replied that the issue is being handled by our judicial arm of government — an euphemism for saying it is purely a Kenyan affair.

The writer is a lawyer.

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