Kenya ‘a beacon of democracy’ in East Africa, says expert
Kenya is a beacon of democracy in East Africa, says Nairobi-based political analyst David Mwiraria.
Mwiraria, a senior fellow at the Foreign Desk in Nairobi, a major economic and political hub in Africa, has held diplomatic and foreign affairs posts with the Kenyan Prime Minister’s office.
Speaking to KAN last week, he said Kenya’s leadership in East Africa is “very, very pro-democracy. They have been there for the last 55 years. Kenya has always been a beacon of democracy for our continent. There is a very strong sense of pride that they have built.
“That’s a big asset for us. They are very much a leader in the region. They were in Ethiopia in 1978 when that country moved out of the hands of the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam to Aburi [Kenya]. They were part of the peace process between Mengistu and Ethiopia. They were very much at the table. So they have been building a strong democracy in east Africa.
“Even when they were under Mengistu, for many years, they had people in the government who had been there before him and they were willing to step aside.”
Mwiraria said Kenya is “much more than an economic powerhouse like many others in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s much more than an ideological superpower. They have been very clear they want to be a democracy and they want to make sure the principles of democracy are protected and that is part of their mandate.”
He added: “I think in terms of the economic development, and the growth rates, that have been much faster. The average growth rate has consistently been about 3-and-a-half per cent for the last 20-odd years. It’s more than 20,000 jobs created over this period.”
Mwiraria said the economic resurgence has been made possible by the commitment of the Kenyan leaders to democracy.
“I think with a strong democracy comes more of an economic boom if you look at the growth rates. They have done much to ensure that the economy would continue to grow fast. So it’s not all down to technology. I’ve been to India to see the growth there. It’s a very good democracy. It’s a very strong democracy.”
However, Mwiraria said Kenya