NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7 – She is a powerful intelligent and an outstanding woman who does not stand out just because of who she is married to, neither because her political class.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is outstanding because she is a woman fighting to make a difference in the lives of other women. The US Secretary of State is passionate especially for the millions of women impoverishing in poverty in Africa.
She is articulate on good governance to provide health, education and cater for developmental needs to improve lives of Africans and in her mind, she knows best that women bear the most burdens when it comes to poverty.
Mrs Clinton spared a few minutes to talk to Capital News despite her tight schedule while on a two-day visit to Nairobi.
Q. How have you found your stay in Kenya?
A. I am very much enjoying my visit in Kenya and I only wish it were longer. It’s been like a wonderful appetiser so I will have to come back for the four-meal and see more of the country. I m very excited by the potential to deepen and strengthen out partnership and friendship which goes back to 50 years, and for President Obama who is a son of Kenya to be able to help Kenya move towards fulfilling its potential. I want to come to Africa and take an extended trip early in my term because I think Africa is such an important place for the future.
Q. How can you reach out to the needy people in Africa to incorporate them in development and job creation?
A. In this trip I have had very productive and mixed agenda of meetings. Of course I have met with people in the government, in Parliament but I have also met with women working to improve productivity in Kenya – as you know 70 percent of farmers in Kenya are women – I had a chance to meet young people at the university, to reach out to the young generation as President Obama has always articulated, I have met with a group of women called Vital Voices and I have met with women providing micro financing. We understand that our relationship is not government-to-government; it is people-to-people. No government can be successful if women are left out and marginalised and young people are not given education and an opportunity to fulfill their own potential.
Q. What can we do to creatively and greatly improve the lives of Africans from the AGOA forum?
A. AGOA is a tool but it is under-utilised; there are more than 6,900 items that can be exported duty free into the United States, I don’t think any African country has realised the full potential of AGOA. We want to provide more technical assistance and support so that businesses here in Kenya can grow and have access to our markets.
Q. US was very vocal during the post election violence. Don’t you think you are lenient on pushing Kenya to punish the perpetrators?
A. No, I have been very straight-forward and very tough sending forth our expectations on what the government should do on the reform agenda, but I did want to explore and frankly challenge the people and the government as to what is the route that is going to be taken to hold people accountable?
I feel very strongly there has to be accountability and appropriate prosecutions and that has not happened. The local approach is preferable because the people feel then that they are acting in a way that is commensurate with their values, but I m hearing from people in Kenya that no one thinks the local route will work! That only leaves the International Criminal Court and as you know that has been the recommendation of some of the civil society groups and 10 names have been turned to the ICC. If people and the government of Kenya cannot come up with a fair, acceptable approach to hold people accountable, then I believe you will see the referral to the ICC!