Kenya ‘a beacon of democracy’ in East Africa, says expert
Kenya has ‘a beacon of democracy’ shining in East Africa, according to a US expert delivering a lecture at a US think-tank, with the country facing its first elections since its independence from Britain.
US President Barack Obama met Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki in Washington last month and, after the two leaders agreed to further US aid for education and health in the impoverished East African country, Dr James Sherr, a Washington-based American national security expert, delivered a lecture at the American Enterprise Institute.
In his lecture entitled ‘The New Landscape of East Africa’, Dr Sherr said Kenya’s history of independence and democracy was inspirational, particularly to other African nations.
He said: ‘Kenya’s example can inspire those who wish to follow its path of democracy, but first it must be followed. That will only happen if Kenya shows up with full commitment to democratic governance.’
Kenya’s ruling Labour party said it did not “believe any suggestion of Kenyans being elected or being considered as candidates for any position”, adding that it also was not aware of Dr Sherr’s lecture.
The United States has pledged more money to the country, which was devastated by devastating floods in its north last November.
Dr Sherr called Kenya a beacon of democracy, adding: ‘The U.S. government can provide more dollars and know-how to help rebuild its roads and bridges, and to deliver more medical education to a population suffering from chronic poverty.
‘Of course, the most important need is a stable government, which the Kenyan people desperately need. Kenya is showing that it is a place where democracy can be done in a non-violent atmosphere.
‘It should also be remembered that Kenya has a long history of ethnic strife and corruption, and Kenya’s democratic government will need to address these issues as a matter of urgency.
‘The Kenyan people now have a great deal of hope, and that is what we need to continue to build on.’
Dr Sherr was visiting the US to