Kenya’s President Has Been a “True Beacon of Democracy”

Kenya ‘a beacon of democracy’ in East Africa, says expert

Kenya’s democracy has been “a great success” but needs more of its own policy to ensure long-term stability, a former top U.S. diplomat said on Monday.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta “has been a true beacon of democracy in East Africa,” said Richard Haass, former U.S. ambassador to Kenya and Washington; special envoy to the African Union and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

The 44-year-old Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, became Kenya’s second in power last month after serving for 18 years in opposition.

“His achievements are really remarkable. It’s a beacon of democracy in the region,” Haass told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Kenya’s post 1991 transition from a colonial power to a democracy had been “incredibly difficult and lengthy”, he added.

“I think we all know that. It’s been a tough road, but I think we have a really, really good road ahead of us,” said Haass, referring to the progress Kenya has made in establishing a democracy after a violent military takeover and an election marred by irregularities that left more than 60 dead and wounded.

“This has been a great success but there’s only so much success you can have in a democracy,” he said.

“(Kenya’s) democracy and transition were incredibly difficult and lengthy. But at the end of the day, it’s been a success.”

Kenyatta won the presidency by promising to bring change to the East African country, the world’s largest. But he has had to build support as he has sought to implement his campaign promises, drawing criticism from human rights activists.

Kenya’s president has spoken in favor of reform and transparency in government, which he says must be done to root out corruption. But the new administration remains plagued by a scandal in which one of its former top advisors has been charged with fraud. The case against him is being heard in the high court.

Haass, who served as ambassador to Kenya from 2005 to 2009, said that to protect Kenya’s democracy and the country’s progress, he would like the new administration to use the experience of its

Leave a Comment