Kenya needs no lecture, says PM

August 4, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – Barely hours before the arrival of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kenya has said that Africa should not be lectured on governance by anyone.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Tuesday that the continent is in transition from dictatorial regimes and as such it is undertaking reforms on good governance and democracy out of its own volition.

“It’s only after the fall of the Berlin Wall that new terminologies were invented; transparency, accountability and good governance. But these we have re-introduced not because we want to placate any donors. We are doing it because we know it is right for Africa,” he stressed.

Mrs Clinton is expected in the country on Tuesday evening for the Forum where she’s expected to deliver a speech at the Ministerial Opening Ceremony on Wednesday and proceed for talks with senior Kenyan leaders.

While officially opening of the 8th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Nairobi, the Premier stated that instead of speeches on how to improve the rule of law, African countries welcome ideas on how to increase trade.

“We need more lectures on how we are going to trade with the rest of the world than how we are going to govern ourselves,” he retorted.

The Prime Minister’s comments appeared to be reactions to US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger’s remarks who called on Kenya to urgently implement the reform agenda agreed upon after the signing of the National Accord that ended the post poll violence last year.

The envoy noted and lauded the role played by the civil society, media and private sector to pressure the protagonists to reach a political solution to the impasse.
“The full implementation (of the agenda) is absolutely essential. Failure to do is one factor holding back economic recovery,” he pointed out.

On his part however Mr Odinga challenged Africa to open up its own borders to enhance trade among themselves.

He said that for trade initiatives such as AGOA to make a difference, African nations must strive to increase quality, quantity and competitiveness of their products.


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