Americans can use some democracy advice from Kenyans
As democracy crumbles in the US, Kenyans can teach Americans a thing or two about political struggle.
Earlier this month, the US Senate confirmed Kyle McCarter as Donald Trump’s ambassador to Kenya. McCarter takes office at a time when the US is facing a slew of third-world problems – from entrenched corruption to a seemingly unaccountable executive to questionable elections. For once, rather than expecting the usual lectures on democracy and good governance, Kenya will be in the position of handing them down.
For many Africans of my generation, brought up on a steady diet of American movies, sit-coms and news media, the US came to represent a paragon of sorts: the world’s premier example of democracy and constitutional governance.
In the 1990s, as Kenya struggled to rid itself of the dictatorship of Daniel arap Moi, the US, despite its many flaws, was seen as an important ally of the reform movement. Many still recall the late Smith Hempstone, the US ambassador from 1989 to 1993, a constant and virulent critic of the Moi regime and supporter of local pro-democracy activists.
In more recent times, following the catastrophic failure of attempts to impose democracy by force of arms in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has seemed much less eager to police democracy in Africa. The six-year tenure of McCarter’s predecessor, Bob Godec, was largely marked by silence.READ MORE