Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Kenyan Foreign Policy



These two articles are quite interesting. A couple of days back I was talking with a mate of mine and the issue of Kenyan foreign policy came up, we observed that Nigeria, South Africa and Senaegal are slowly becoming the dominant players in African foreign affairs. The three countries seem to have a hand in all the issues affaceting Africa, from Darfur, Ivory Coast and DRC. We observed that Kenya seems to have diminished in capacity since NARC came to power, we are no longer very involved in the foreign affairs arena (remember the Sudan and Somali peace initiatives were begun under Moi and NARC simply finished what had been started (but this is not to diminish the governments achievements). But it was said somewhere - I can not recall where - that Moi was a Statesman and Kibakis is a mere carricuture of the professor (believe me it was no KANU lacky who said this), but considering the lack of activism on a myraid of issues affecting the continent - especially DRC, NEPAD, AU etc, I am of the opinion that Kenya is slowly losing its luster on the African stage. As one of the four anchor states (according to the US) we should - I believe - be more involved in Africa, I need to see Kibaki going on more international trips, and hosting more peace conferences etc.. just see him doing more top ensure that our interests are taken care of in Africa. As the standard article notes, we seem to be losing out to SA and Nigeria and I for one detest that.

Another issue that has been on my mind for a while, has been the lack of foreign policy discourse in Kenya. We have think tanks that focus on Economic maters (KIPPRA AND IPAR), but we have none that look at analyzing Kenya's position in the world. We need a Council of Foreign Relations that will focus on providing analysis that provides a more wholisitic view of public policy:

"Undoubtedly, the lack of high-level debates about the Government’s policy intentions and practices are signs of an unhealthy democratic discourse. The fact that there are no discussions outside Government has denied it the opportunity to tap into expert knowledge.
The Government is deprived of this expertise as it has no foreign policy think-tank or a roster of experts from academia it can summon to propose policy positions that serve the national interest.
In view of the increasing role that Kenya is being called upon to play in international politics, it is time for a comprehensive review of its foreign policy and affairs.
To play an active role in the international arena, Kenya needs to recruit and train a high-calibre foreign service corp, composed of experts in fields such as trade, science, technology, and law."

In an ever "globalizing" world, we can not afford to focus only on economics and leave out a the foreign policy and security studies that come with working in the international community.


Blogger Afromusing said...

Good point. African union as noted by your last entry has really stepped up, and i applaud them, Kenya definitely has much to contribute, because i think we set the model for a semblance of democracy. (free and relatively problem free elections in 2000). I was filled with hope then and iam still hopeful despite the grand scale of corruption that is going on. Haki tuna potential, kwanini hawaoni? Thanks for the post, i enjoyed sana.

2:26 PM  

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