NAIROBI, Kenya, July 26 – United States President Barack Obama has noted Kenya’s efforts towards achieving democracy saying this is vital to ensure good governance.
During his final address to Kenyans prior to his departure to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he will speak at an African Union summit, Obama urged the leadership not to alienate disgruntled parties and instead work with them on matters affecting Kenyans.
“Democracy means someone is always complaining about something. Nobody is ever happy in a democracy about their government. If you make one person one happy, somebody else I unhappy and sometimes somebody else who you made happy later on is not happy. That is the nature of democracy and this is why it works, it’s always challenging leaders to up their game,” said Obama.
Obama further called or the strengthening of democratic institutions so as to face down threats faced by Kenyans.
“Democracy begins with a peacefully elected government but it does not stop with elections, there also has to be space for citizens to exercise their right,” he added.
He further applauded the democratic space and freedom of the press that existed in Kenya.
The US President pledged his administration’s support in the war against terror urging Kenyans not to allow terror to divide them along tribal and religious lines.
“Whatever the challenge you would be stronger, if you face it not as Christians or Muslims Maasai, Kikuyu, Luo or any other tribe but as Kenyans and ultimately that unity is the source of the strength that will empower you to seize this moment of promise – that is what will help you root out corruption and inequality and bring about reconciliation,” stated Obama.
Adding that, “we are going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you for as long as it takes.”
He specifically asked that the civil society be given space to air the concerns as they represented the voice of other Kenyans.
He also thanked the Kenyan government for the role it has played in stabilising Somalia saying the US government would provide for more funds to train the country’s military forces so that the war against terror is won.
For the second time, Obama praised President Kenyatta’s efforts in fighting graft further calling on Kenyans to join in the war since it was an impediment to progress.
“The good news is that your (Kenyatta) is taking some important steps in the right direction. People who violate public trust must be prosecuted,” he said.
He also called on them to speak against corruption further urging them to defend the new constitution so as not to draw back on the gains it has brought forward.