Stop lecturing and open up trade, Raila tells the West
Via The Daily Nation
Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Prime Minister Raila Odinga Tuesday opened a new war front with developed countries asking them to stop “lecturing” African nations on governance issues. He, instead, urged the West to focus on how to further open up more trade avenues in the continent to enable African countries to prosper economically.
While addressing delegates attending the ongoing Africa Growth and Opportunity Act forum in Nairobi, Mr Odinga said the continent had made great strides by “toppling dictators” who had given Africa a bad name.
In bad taste
“Lecturing us on issues that deal with governance and transparency is in bad taste,” said the PM. Added Mr Odinga: “The continent is still recovering from an era of dictatorship and tyrannical leadership that many African countries struggled hard to dislodge. “We therefore don’t need lectures on how to govern ourselves… we only require lectures on how to trade not only with ourselves but with the rest of the world to enable us prosper.”
The PM’s sentiments appeared to be in response to comments by US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, who had earlier on insisted that the government must implement, in full, all the reform agenda it promised Kenyans.
Top of what the US government wants addressed include constitutional review, electoral review, land reforms and reconciliation. He spoke ahead of the arrival of US Secretary of State Mrs Hillary Clinton, who is expected to grace the official opening of the forum on Wednesday. President Kibaki is also scheduled to attend.
Similar sentiments have also been raised by various countries that make up the European Union. The US Ambassador said full implementation was indeed very critical to the prosperity of Kenyans. “Failure to do this will interfere with the realisation of the country’s economic agenda,” said Mr Ranneberger while addressing the delegates.
The US Government has for long been piling pressure on Kenya to implement the reforms it promised under Agenda Four of the National Accord that was negotiated under the guidance of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.
It has previously warned of unspecified action against Kenyan leaders should it fail to implement the reform agenda and end the intermittent wrangles that have threatened to derail the grand coalition.
The two principals – President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga – have often been criticised for failing to guide the country out of danger ahead of the 2012 elections. However, the two have in the recent past moved to assure the country that the coalition would last to the end and would deliver on the reforms envisaged in the National Accord.