Kenya ‘a beacon of democracy’ in East Africa, says expert As the US and Europe look set to welcome Africa into the 21st century with the promise of democracy and human rights, the Kenyan government is being hailed as a beacon of democracy in East Africa. But Kenyan officials concede that progress is taking place in Kenya’s deeply conservative country.
Nairobi — Kenya is on the international map with its reputation for freedom, but its government is being held to account. As the US and Europe look set to welcome Africa into the 21st century with the promise of democracy and human rights, the Kenyan government is being hailed as a beacon of democracy in East Africa.
But Kenyan officials concede that progress is taking place in Kenya’s deeply conservative country.
Former US officials and academics are praising Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, as “a great leader” and the country’s “a beacon of democracy in East Africa”.
Kenyan officials have called the praise “nonsense” and warned that Kenya doesn’t live up to it.
On the eve of Kenya’s presidential visit to the US in 2013, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger called Kenyatta “a great hero” who had been “stolen by the United States”, according to the Guardian.
The Kenyan government’s attempts to promote democracy in the world have been criticised by Western countries and many critics inside Kenya. But Kenyatta’s government has been praised by some who call it “the only real democracy in the region”.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says Kenyatta is a hero. ( Reuters: Timothy A. CLARY/AFP )
The New York Times dubbed Kenya “the most democratic and fair of Africa’s new democracies”.
The BBC’s South East Africa correspondent Mike Wooldridge said Kenyatta’s government was “very different from the Kenyans we know. He has made it very clear that he wants his country to be a successful model for others to follow.
“This is something that is very different from previous Kenya governments. They have been very nationalistic,” he said, adding that Kenyatta’s government was based on “a new vision of what a Kenyan nationhood and what a Kenyan democracy should be”.
In Kenya, political rights are mostly non-existent, activists say, while corruption and crime are rife. The country is also experiencing