26 July 2015

Kenya: Barack Obama Urges Electoral Reforms in Kenya

US President Barack Obama has asked Kenya to reform its politics, saying zoning the country into regions and tribes was likely to tear it apart.

Addressing Kenyans from Kasarani, Nairobi, the US leader urged electoral reforms to ensure polls are credible and reflect the will of voters.

He called on President Uhuru Kenyatta's government to let the civil society take its rightful place in the country, saying they are vital for democracy.


"Democracy begins with elections, it does not stop with elections. For this system to succeed, we also have to have room for citizens to exercise their rights," said Obama.

His comments come after the Jubilee government cracked down on NGOs that were suspected of funding Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia.

The government has also lined up Bills seeking to grant it greater control over the activities of civil societies.


The US leader, whose late father is Kenyan, urged Nairobi to ensure equal distribution of the national wealth to address challenges posed by marginalisation.

"A girl in Rift Valley is far less likely to attend high school than a girl in Nairobi. We need to close that gap," said Mr Obama.

He added that the choices Kenya makes now, in its politics and governance, will be instrumental in charting its future.


"Kenya is at a crossroads. It is filled with peril but also filled with enormous progress. Tough choices will have to be made if Kenya is to achieve its bright destiny," said Obama, amid cheers from the crowd.

He described himself as a "friend who wants to see Kenya succeed", outlining three key pillars that are integral for Kenya's development.

These are democracy and fair governance, equitable development and peace and reconciliation.

More on This

Obama Addresses Kenyans [FULL TEXT]

Delivered at the Safaricom Indoor Arena, Nairobi, Kenya: Read more »

Copyright © 2015 The Nation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.