, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – The parallels between Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta and his son President Uhuru Kenyatta were easy to draw during Kenya’s 50th anniversary celebrations at Kasarani.
It was clear from the moment Uhuru took to the podium that he shares his father’s Pan-African sentiment and as his father did 50 years ago, he made it clear that Kiswahili was his preferred language.
“It is because of our guests that I choose to speak in the English language and not our tongue,” he stated categorically at the commencement of his speech.
A sentiment shared by his father 50 years ago: “Brothers I think I have spoken enough in this language. It is not my wish that I should be speaking to you in a foreign and for that matter colonialistic language.”
And again as Jomo did 50 year’s ago at his inaugration, Uhuru bluntly stated that he would not bother placating those in the international community who turned their nose up at the continent.
“Africa has come of age. Africa seeks constructive partnerships. We will embrace partnerships based on mutual respect…We will not accept partnerships that do not recognise we also have the intellectual capacity to engage on equal terms.”
“Africa has a voice and, 50 years after independence, Africa demands that its voice must be heard,” he continued to say.
This was Jomo’s statement at his inauguration 50 years ago: “Some of them have misunderstood us and it’s only by our actions that they will know we mean business.”
The Pan-Africanist sentiment was also exhibited by Deputy President William Ruto who in his recognition of the world leaders who graced Thursday’s celebrations focused on the continent and the East, lumping the West in, “the others,” section.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni didn’t pull any punches and made it crystal clear what his feelings toward the West are.
“They wanted to dictate to you (Kenya) how to vote. But you showed them. By voting in Uhuru and Ruto you did what the Mau Mau did 50 years ago; asserted your independence,” he stated.
Earlier in the year, the West made its position known threatening repercussions should International Criminal Court (ICC) accused persons – Uhuru and Ruto – be voted in as Kenya’s leaders.
Following their election however, the West has been keen to mend fences but Uhuru has pegged the repair of the previously preferential relationship on the conduct of the ICC trials.
“We the 53 nations that make up the African Continent wrote to them (the UN Security Council) and were categorical that we will not support the trial of your President and his Deputy,” Museveni rehashed at Thursday’s celebrations to great applause.
And as this Pan-Africanist wave that led to the formation of the African Union (AU) 50 years ago again sweeps through the continent, the West is yet again left in a precarious position.