Statement from the National Youth Sector Alliance on the Misappropriation of the The Kazi Kwa Vijana and the Kenya Youth Empowerment Program Funds by Government Officials.

Nairobi: September 24th 2011

The National Youth Sector Alliance is disturbed by the news that that Kazi Kwa Vijana Funds provided by the World Bank for the purpose of empowering Kenyan Youth with job opportunities have been misappropriated by top officials in the office of the Prime Minister. Media reports indicate that the World Bank released 4 Billion Shillings for KKV and that it is demanding a refund of over 900 million which is claimed to be misappropriated by officials in the OPM.

In 2008 during the National Youth Convention (NYCIV), the youth delegates complained directly to the Prime Minister of the poor design of the KKV program noting that most of the funds were being spent not directly reaching the youth with a tagline of “Kazi Kwa Vija Pesa Kwa Wazee” It was recommended that the design of the program be restructured in order to directly empower the Kenyan youth. The recommendations were never taken into account by the Office of the Prime Minister.

 

During the inaugural Prime Minister’s Round Table with the Youth in September of 2010, under the Youth Empowerment Thematic Focus, a specific recommendation was made to the effect that the impact of the KKV was not being achieved due to poor structure and implementation. It was recommended that the Program be restructured to accommodate both labour intensive as well as intellectual capacity of the many millions of graduates from both tertiary and other institutions of higher learning in the country.

 

While the program was expanded and largely involved the Private Sector, the office of the Prime Minister managed to rename the department to Kenya Youth Empowerment Program. No caution was taken to the re-designing and structure of the KKV Program implementation. The specific recommendation in the matrix of implementation has never been responded to.

 

The fact that there has been public outcry and a lot of advice given on how to restructure the KKV, it is disturbing that the bureaucracy in the Office of the Prime Minister has not been keen to redesigning the program for the public good.

 

It should be noted that KKV is the closest that Kenya has come to creating massive employment opportunities for the high numbers of the unemployed population in the Country. The Fact that advice to make the program work has not been taken, is a confirmation of the existence of an axis of evil in Government that is hell bent to continue enjoying youth disenfranchisement for short term political gains.

 

It is still not clear how much money has been misappropriated and how much has already been disbursed. NYSA will initiate the process to bring to the fore the facts in partnership with other key stakeholders. The process will immediately seek to have an audience with the Kenyan youth and the relevant Government agencies to get into the root of the matter under question.

 

Pending Issues on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund;

 

It should also be noted that there are many questions that are left unanswered on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. There have been unconfirmed allegations of fictitious and non-existent youth groups being beneficiaries of the Fund with millions of shillings reported missing without financial returns. All this matters must now be put under investigation and the agenda of Youth Empowerment in Kenya brought to naught in order to deal with the unemployment issue once and for all.

 

Demands from the Youth of Kenya

 

The Youth of Kenya, demand the following from the office of the Prime Minister and the Coalition Government;

 

1. A comprehensive financial audit of KKV and YEDF conducted with the following details;

 

a. the total amount of money used,

b. the kinds of projects accomplished,

c. the number and names of youth beneficiaries and how much they have received

d. the impact of the program aggregated according to region and gender.

 

2. Immediate suspension of the Officers in charge of the Kenya Youth Empowerment Program (KYEP) in the office of the Prime Minister.

3. Independent investigations to immediately commence and the officers found culpable of the misappropriation of the KKV and YEDF funds be prosecuted.

4. Immediate suspension of any financial undertakings on the program until it is comprehensively redesigned through a team of experts with young people included through a competitive independent, public vetting process.

 

Leadership from the two Principles

 

The National Youth Sector Alliance calls upon the President and the Prime Minister to put aside all their assignments and directly attend to these issues. This is a clear picture of corruption and the Youth of Kenya demand for accountability on funds meant for them. Transparency MUST Prevail.

 

Signed for and on behalf of the National Youth Sector Alliance.

Emmanuel Dennis

Convener – NYSA

Kenyan Diaspora Alliance Calls for Open Advertising of Positions of Chief Justice, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions

Press Statement

The Diaspora Alliance, its corporate members listed below representing over 80% of all Kenyan Diaspora belonging to organized global organizations, calls for the retraction of the nominees for the positions of Chief Justice, Attorney-General and Deputy Public Prosecutor, and immediate setting into motion a transparent, credible way for recruitment that entails public advertisement and short-listing by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), before submitting the names to the President and Prime Minister for selection, and ultimately parliament for vetting before final appointment.

The Alliance is VERY disappointed that in the nomination of candidates for these positions the President who swore to defend the constitution has, essentially broken the very supreme law. It is quite clear that either the Prime Minister, the President (or both) are lying about the consultative process – or lack thereof – that preceded these nominations.

It is notable that the body charged with overseeing the implementation of the new constitution, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the body whose main function is to recommend eligible people to the President and Prime Minister for appointment as judges, as well as the High Court itself have declared the nominations illegal and against both the letter and the spirit of the law.

The Diaspora Alliance recognizes the vitality and sanctity of the judiciary, contending that while we can live with under-performing executive and legislature, no society can survive with a discredited judiciary like we have.

Public Action of Leadership must be for the common good

It is important for the leadership to note that powers of the Executive (also Judiciary and Legislature) are OF THE PEOPLE, only delegated to them! As per the Preamble of the new Constitution: the very first Article (1) states “all sovereign power belong to the people of Kenya …”. Thus any appointment by the President must be ‘on behalf of the people’. So, when the designated institutions along with the general public through the mass-media themselves are saying “do this transparently and fairly through the JSC” [and the voice of God is the voice of the people], the leadership needs to listen.

Various recent actions by the country’s leadership do not appear to have the welfare of the ordinary people of Kenya at heart, disregarding the supremacy of the people and the expectation for public officers to act in a manner that:-
i) demonstrates respect for the people,
ii) brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office,
iii) promotes confidence in the integrity of the office, and
iv) iv) vests the responsibility to serve the people rather than the power to rule over them (as in Article 73 of the new constitution).

In selective interpretation of the law, some commentators on this outrageous action have reduced this issue to competition between the two principles, forgetting that the Transitional Provisions are largely to help us wade through the murky ‘Coalition Government’ days – and also complete the stages for katiba implementation.

Article 24(2) of Schedule 6 often quoted was simply to ensure that in so appointing the Chief Justice, it is recognized that the ‘Presidency’ in this interim period includes also the Premiership. But it must be read with Article 166 (1) of the Constitution which states inter alia: “The President shall appoint the CJ and Deputy CJ in accordance with the recommendation of the JSC, and with the approval of the National Assembly.” The transitional provision oft selectively quoted doesn’t whatsoever negate the requirement for the JSC to be involved. Otherwise, the functions of the JSC would have been watered down; as a matter of fact the 1st and main function of the JSC [Article 172(1)(1)] is “to recommend to the President persons to appoint as judges”, and of course that includes the Chief “Judge” – the CJ!

We believe that Kenya is for all Kenyans, and that in this spirit, inclusiveness is important in all public appointments. It is therefore worrisome that the President overlooked women, youth and the Kenyan Diaspora – which contributes the largest portion of foreign exchange earnings by far, compared to any other sectors of the economy – in these appointments. Indeed, the nominee for the position of Attorney-General, Githu Muigai, is so insensitive to the rights of the Kenyan Diaspora that he opposed the registration of Kenyans abroad during the last year’s referendum on the new constitution.

Besides, as per Article 23 of Schedule 6, all judges to be reappointed must be first vetted. In effect, even if: i) the President had consulted the Prime Minister, ii) women, Diaspora, etc had been included, the action would still have been unconstitutional.

At any rate nothing in Schedule 6 itself prohibits the President and Prime Minister from inviting applications from qualified, eligible persons for these seats. As a matter of fact, had we been truly born anew, this is what good governance would entail!

Criteria for Appointments

The Next Chief Justice, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions should be of impeccable integrity, credibility and beyond reproach. They must possess known credentials for fighting for and defending justice, democracy and the rule of law. Kenya needs and deserves judicial officers who at a minimum:-

1. Have exemplary transformative vision to overhaul the judicial system and permanently institutionalize the rule of law, service to the people, independence from the politics of the day, intolerant to tribalism, and proven abhorrence to corruption and sloth;
2. Judicial leaders whose professional and personal philosophy is discernible and preferably known to Kenyans. This can be found in speeches, articles, books, court proceedings, and other related past activities.
3. Genuine reformers who can lead by example, with this quality demonstrated by past actions – e.g. making rulings that show they can defy the executive or by assisting and being part of the struggle against past and present dictatorships and the subsequent fight for constitutional reforms from the dark days. Anyone without this hallmark must be told that they are unfit to lead Kenya through the next phase of the struggle, as such are people who will vary positions on the basis of tribe, political persuasion or brown envelopes and therefore cannot restore the sorely needed public confidence in the justice systems.
4. Change masters who can mobilize and motivate the troops. Cleaning the judiciary will require self sacrifice in the sense that many people who are used to lifestyles based on 5 or even 10 times their salaries are going to adjust to new circumstances. A lot of the judicial officers are still going to continue with the old way of ‘kitu kidogo’ while they preach water. The new Chief Justice and Attorney General must be capable of managing change, and transforming human behaviour without losing the morale and cooperation of those under their charge–for they cannot transform the judiciary by decree or through moral preaching alone. The new AG and CJ must be adept at creating a sense of purpose and a larger raision d’etre in the mission statement of Kenya’s new judicial system – one imbued with integrity, independence, transparency, ethics and professionalism.

The Process Must Free, Fair, Transparent and Participatory

Kenyans deserve transparent criteria for choosing nominees for those to be vetted by parliament. Kenyans deserve a chance to put the hard questions to those nominated– for example what their visions are, what specific plans they have in overhauling the judiciary, what has been their role in the struggle for democracy and above all, they must sign a “promissory note” committing to the people of Kenya that the buck will stop with them, that they will take personal responsibility for failure to deliver and they will honourably step aside even if there is a whiff of suspicion or if Kenyans do not see tangible improvement within one year.

This is not something just for the President and Prime Minister, or PNU and ODM for that matter to negotiate and horse-trade about. The truth is that today, the majority of Kenyans belong to neither of these groups; these positions are even more for the sake of future generations who know no parties than today’s.

Reclaiming the Space from the Political Elite

Part of the problem with our country is the manner in which a few individuals believe that the country belongs to them only. On the other hand there is a misplaced obsession with highlighting the fights among “political titans” as opposed to ordinary Kenyans’ fight for a “Just Society of Men” (as engraved in Parliament’s Chambers)!

We ask a few questions:-

a) Why do we have a great constitution yet allow people in position to defy the same that they took oath to protect. How safe is one as a Kenyan that his or her rights are protected when the President himself breaks the law with great abandon?

b) Why do we take hard options in deciding pertinent matters of state (like appointments) yet we have crystal clear guidelines, men and women of honour, resources, resolve and intellect to follow procedure as is?

c) Why should we always start by doing the opposite of what we ought to do, then turn around just to score political points or otherwise?

Moving Forward

It is disappointing and dangerous that a country with as much potential and ability as ours should be run in so inappropriate a manner.

The Diaspora Alliance calls upon the governing principals to follow the constitution and the law in running the country, and to put the interests of Kenyans first. Moving forward, we demand the following :-

i) Withdrawal of the nominees for the positions of CJ, AG and DPP, and immediately setting into motion a transparent, credible way for recruitment that entails public adverts and JSC short-listing, before submitting the names to the President and Prime Minister for selection, and ultimately parliament for vetting before final appointment. What would be wrong if JSC or even the relevant parliamentary committee advertised the posts – and extended the same to Embassies so that qualified Kenyan Diaspora too applied? Instead of ‘thinking big’, we seem to fancy ‘thinking small’. Instead of leaving it to ‘only the 2 people’ (call them principals), why not open it up to the 40 million Kenyans? They can’t be more wrong!

ii) We accordingly recommend that the 3 judicial officers all be excluded from any future consideration for these offices as they have failed the first test of credibility and integrity. If they were worth their salt and to be trusted custodian’s of the rule of law in Kenya, they should have promptly declined these nominations even without prompting, given the unconstitutionalities.

iii) Kenya’s leadership has to rededicate itself to the purpose and spirit of the new constitution, lest we have a document that is not even worth the ink it was written on.

Member Organizations of the Diaspora Alliance:-

Diaspora Movement of Kenya (DMK)
Institute for African Democracy, Development & Sovereignty (IADDS)
Kenya Advocacy Group (KAG)
Kilimo Foundation for Corruption and Poverty Eradication (KCPE)
Kenyans for Change (K4C)
Kenya Global Unity (KGU)
Madaraka People’s Movement
New Vision Kenya – Mageuzi (NVK-M)
Voice Movement

About the Diaspora Alliance

The Diaspora Alliance’s vision is to see a just, free, prosperous and equitable Kenya, one in which social justice and the rule of law are entrenched in all the strata of Kenya’s society, especially in the institutions that affect public and personal life in our country.

Kenya Coalition Principals Grossly Misguided about Kenyan Youth

By George Nyongesa

We are infuriated by the fact that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga used Jamhuri Day celebrations to level allegations of treason against the youth of Kenya. The principals’ outburst, coming hot on the heels of Government spokesman Dr. Alfred Mutua’s similar outlandish claim that the youth are receiving foreign funding to destabilize the coalition government, cannot be ignored, especially by the leadership of youth.

In this regard, we wish to address the President and Prime Minister as follows:

First, we would like to point out that the poignant claims eloquently expose the fears and uneasiness that the political establishment has over the emerging political consciousness among the youth. The language of castigations completely reeks of the status quo’s misguided view of youth as being disorganized, confused and easily manipulated. We refuse this ill-adviced definition of the youth and warn that we are indeed actively organizing to empower ourselves in order to keep on track reforms especially as espoused in Agenda 4 of the same National Accord that brought President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga together in a coalition government.

Second, we are not fazed by allegations of receiving support from wherever in order to realize our agenda. This is not news, as the coalition leaders never ending foreign begging trips are common knowledge. In any event, the youth are part of the wider civil society that likewise survives on primarily international funding for their activities. Also, since the coalition government will not put together empowerment programs that are not designed to control us, manage us or take us hostage, reality check demands that we work with anyone who understands our problem and genuinely wants to help.

Third, we frown upon President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila’s attempt to plant seeds of strife and discord among youth by branding their leadership as foreign-aided coup plotters. Whilst the tag is meant to cow the emerging youth leadership, we want to boldly warn them that Agenda 4 issues, among these, youth unemployment, remain key reform and progress scorecard items for the youth; that if not comprehensively and urgently addressed by the two principal will precipitate the threatening revolution of the dissatisfied masses of youth against the cartel of political elite.

Fourth, we wish to inform President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila that the majority Kenyan youth are quickly realizing that unless Agenda 4 items are addressed, the youth and future generations will remain victims of bad governance that is characterized by corruption, impunity, poverty and tribalism.

We are no longer at ease with the way things are and will not hesitate to latch on constitutional rights to organize to overthrow the political establishment that preys us. We want a better Kenya that is fit for all of us to realize our God given potential. Indeed the youth leadership is going round the neighborhood inspiring fellow Kenyans that with the reality of new constitution, our numbers hold the key to the change we want to see and there is nothing criminal in pursuing constitutional promises.

Fifth, Mr. President and Prime Minister, it is true we are organizing to breed a new leadership that is up to the task of bridging the differences in our society and inspire our social diversities to work together to realize prosperity and peace for all. These are the ideals the youth of our generation dream of and in the back drop of new constitution find it civic obligation and duty. We are organizing because we are dissatisfied with the periodic tokenism such as Kazi kwa Vijana, Youth Enterprise Fund and worse still a youth ministry that has turned out to be a political circus.

Mr. President and Prime Minister, we are organizing because we have come to the realization that anything this political status comes up with has in the final analysis always become another gradualism that cannot address the urgent grave situation of unemployment among youth. We are organizing because we do not want to be used and abused as political levers by political cartels. We are organizing because we are fully aware of the problems the youth face; we are aware of the solutions to those problems and we are sure that we are the leadership we need to get us out of this deep hole.

Sixth, the youth are actively involved in post-referendum civic education on the new constitution especially on the contents of chapter 6. This is because in gearing up for 2012, before the campaign propaganda and empty promises peddled by power hungry politicians clouds their judgment, it is important to empower Kenyans to realize that most of the current crop of leaders cannot stand the leadership and integrity test set by this section of the constitution.

Indeed, the next general election forebodes an overthrow of the political establishment that grossly falls short and that continues to benefit from impunity. Mr. President and Prime Minister, you must accept that Kenyan youth organizing to shake off the yoke of oppression and exploitation through ballot democracy is not a crime and it is an internationally recognized, legitimate and legal avenue for citizenry to realize their own progress.

Seventh, we find it well within our political rights and liberties to want to and accordingly to organize to legally depose an establishment rife with corruption, impunity and tribalism, and replace with one for whom the people’s agenda is central. In doing so, the youth do not act only for ourselves, but millions of Kenyans who are victims of the current bad leadership such as the thousands of internally displaced persons sleeping cold and hungry in filthy camps, thousands of youths seeking solace from joblessness in crime, alcohol, drugs and prostitution, and the millions of Kenyans on self imposed curfews as a result high insecurity in our country.

Eighth, we sympathize with the coalition principals’ embarrassment suffered after the honest and unflattering contents of WikiLeaks, but wish to categorically protest against the Machiavellian use of youth as a political distraction shield of sorts. Casting aspersions against the youth leadership as ploy to steal the public attention from revelations of WikiLeaks is in bad taste, reactionary and totally misguided and betrays how quick the principals are to sacrifice others for their own interests. Accordingly, we dismiss with contempt and term it as a gross insult, the unsolicited paternalistic advisory that had the Premier label Kenyan youth as puppets and we demand a public apology.

In conclusion, we demand that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila either come up with practical programs to get the youth out of the extreme poverty that makes them vulnerable to political manipulation or keep off our activities of organizing to save ourselves. We reiterate that we are peaceful and patriotic Kenyans engaging in constitution guaranteed civic actions to bring about another Kenya that is fit for all of us. We believe that the youth of Kenya are already giving so much of their own limited resources and sweeping allegations of foreign funding of youth activities is a distraction that we advice our fellow youth not to pay attention to. While we are not oblivious to the fact that the status quo will not resist misuse of state power in deploying old tricks of violence to halt our non-violent and peaceful push for meaningful reforms, we remain determined to deliver the dream and shall not relent.

Mr. Nyongesa is the National Coordinator of Bunge la Mwananchi as well as Co-convenor of the National Youth Forum in Kenya.

Is Kazi kwa Vijana the way forward?

This week in Parliament, Prime Minister Raila Odinga made a statement on the Kazi kwa Vijana programme.

Though he accepted that the initiative had weaknesses (mainly administrative), the Prime Minister stated that his ministry will integrate the implementation arrangements for KKV and those of the Economic Stimulus Programme to ensure community level participation and maximum efficiency.

Read:

Jipe moyo wewe Kijana! (don’t give up!) – Kenya’s government has no intention of empowering you!

KKVToday the youth in Nairobi converged on Charter Hall to celebrate International Youth Day. The purpose of this auspicious day (which will be officially celebrated tomorrow in the rest of the world) is to draw attention to social, economic, legal and political issues facing the youth.

The Nairobi Forum had as its theme “Harnessing Responsive Youth Development Initiatives for a Sustainable Kenyan Economy”, an issue which is at the heart of Agenda 4 of Kenya’s National Accord Agreement that established the current coalition government.

Regarding the youth, Agenda 4 has far reaching measures which are meant to include all Kenyans and indeed the youth who form over 75% of Kenya’s population into democratic processes and development.

Constitutional reforms are anticipated to include clauses that ensure equal opportunities and social inclusion for all Kenyans. Institutional reforms in the judiciary and police have been incorporated to ensure strong commitment to human rights, in a country where Kenyan youth are particularly vulnerable to such abuses, with the majority of inmates in the prison system being youth and a  police force that has also been accused of targeting the youth for extra judicial killings.

Further Agenda 4 reforms are also supposed to be implemented within the civil service, the same sector which in March this year raised the retirement age of civil servants up five years to 60! Land reforms are also a crucial Agenda 4 issue as land ownership amongst the nation’s youth is remaining a novelty.

However, these reforms cannot compare with the real poverty faced by Kenya’s youth. The youth require jobs and opportunities to fully exploit their talents. And Agenda 4 emphasises policies that ensure equity and balance  in terms of job creation and improved income distribution.

Thus, the main agenda in this afternoon’s Charter Hall forum centered on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund as well as the more recent Kazi kwa Vijana (KKV) programme.

After opening performances from Sauti Sol who can only be described as Kenya’s Boyz II Men, Hope Raisers a band from Korogocho inspired the title of this post “Jipe moyo wewe Kijana!” with their session that encouraged the audience not to give up in the face of poverty. It was ironic that above the stage were both the emblem of the Nairobi City Council which in the past has been guilty of not providing adequate social services as well as the seemingly benign face of President Kibaki, the very same principal who is meant to deliver Agenda 4 to Kenyans.

The forum was moderated by Louis Otieno of Citizen TV and began with a talk from Patrick Kasyula, the head of research at the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. In his speech, he extolled the virtues of the fund, more or less placing the blame for not reaching as many young entrepreneurs as could have been on parliament. He went on to say that the fund had to put internal structures and requirements such as funding youth groups as opposed to individuals so that the Kenya National Audit Office (KNAO) could not say they were spending money flagrantly.

Kasyula further mentioned that the fund was committed to responding to issues. As such the first question was raised by Fiona Mati of the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (Yipe.org) regarding the over Kshs. 1 billion in financial discrepancies outlined in the Partnership for Change report “A fish rots from the head down: crony capitalism at Kenya’s Youth Enterprise Development Fund” whose basis was a financial management letter addressed to the then CEO of the Youth Fund, Umuro Wario from the very same Kenya National Audit Office (KNAO) Mr. Kasyula had earlier mentioned.

In response, Mr. Kasyula termed the “report” as being false and malicious. He went onto assert that those errors emanated from the fund’s parent ministry of Youth & Sports to whom the startup monies for the youth fund was given in grants. As a result of that “report” Kasyula continued, the CEO was terminated.  Mr. Kasyula never made any response to other questions from Ms. Mati regarding single sourcing by the Fund of suppliers and contractors, and neither did he answer her question on the Youth Fund’s “partnership” with Enablis East Africa.  However, he did provide a standard response from the fund that it is the only State Corporation that presents quarterly reports to Parliament and is one of the most transparent government agencies. Yet if this is the case, why the hesitancy in answering a few straightforward questions if the Fund is as transparent as its officers profess it to be?

Mr. Kasyula was further prodded by another audience member, Emmanuel Dennis the convenor of the National Youth Convention regarding his assertion that the “report” by the Kenya National Audit Office was both “false and malicious”. Mr. Dennis asked how Kasyula a civil servant could say the Auditor General’s office could make such “false and malicious” assertions– the very same office that draws its mandate from The Constitution of Kenya!

Dennis further reminded the audience of further financial issues raised in the KNAO financial management letter including a Kshs. 50 million grant to the youth fund by the Kenya Pipeline Organisation, for which no agreement was supplied at the time of the KNAO’s audit of the fund; Kshs. 500 million put into a fixed deposit account without Treasury approval and monies paid out for events to an organization for whom no legal registration documents were made available to the KNAO.

At this point, Kasyula directed any interested questioners to find out more from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, whom the forum’s moderator Louis Otieno reminded everyone present was new in his job. But Kasyula maintained that a visit to the parent ministry would yield answers, albeit the same answers the Partnership for Change has been seeking since June 27th 2009!

At the beginning of the Forum, Louis Otieno had asked the audience how many had received money from the youth kitty and only a smattering raised their hands. Indeed there were more audience members who raised their hands when asked who had applied and been rejected.

Two of these from one youth group in Embakasi narrated their story. They said that even though the concept of a youth fund was good in the boardroom, its implementation was far from realistic on the ground. They had tried to apply twice and never received even an email rejecting their application. One of them, Njambi said that rejection communication would not quench her thirst for entrepreneurship, but could only improve the development of her group’s business proposal. Njambi added that even a short note saying that the handwriting on her group’s proposal was bad would have been preferable to no response at all.

The second entrepreneur Lydia said that on one of their applications they approached the Fund and were told there was no money and that they should return after the national budget was read as all the money had been returned until then to the Treasury! She further cited the major hurdles imposed by the fund’s application process saying that her group had a hard time even finding a youth officer. That is not surprising because the youth officer they eventually found in Embakasi was in her words a “Mzee” (an old man) who told the group that what they were requesting was not within his mandate and even called the administration police to send them back to where they came from. Kasyula responded to this by admitting that the Fund does not itself employ youth officers who commonly are “senior” civil servants seconded to such duties by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.

The question of what impact the fund has made was raised by other audience members who said the youth in the “hood(s)” of Nairobi do not know about banks and “big money” and asked the fund to make its presence known on the ground. A member of a youth performing group added that road-shows would be a good starting point so the youth can leave the ghetto and reach the leafy suburbs of Lavington.

The second issue under discussion at the forum was jobs, specifically those under the controversial Kazi kwa Vijana (KKV) programme. A representative from the KKV National Management Committee Mr. Adak said that the initiative was aimed at assisting those youth most “at risk“. In his introduction he outlined the structure of the programme and stressed that the initiative had been successful, employing 100,000 youth so far.

Expenditure is Expe! (expensive)

An audience member from Mathare later told Mr. Adak that the amount of 250 shillings per day  was too little to feed him and his family. He also asked whether the initiative was just a 2012 campaign gimmick. In response, Adak told the young man that we should “praise God” for 250 shillings! – further revealing the insensitivity of government policy makers and political elite to the plight of the nation’s youth.

That response confirmed that Kenya’s government policy is solely populist and not geared to any sustainable development as far as youth policy and mainstreaming is concerned. That the government through KKV has employed 100,000 youth and intends by the end of September 2009 (next month) to make this figure 300,000 (how they get this figure and how they intend to achieve 300% growth is anyone’s guess) shows that Agenda 4 is on the back-burner as far as Kenya’s youth are concerned. World development has shown that as the noted economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen says, development is not just about numbers but how the quality of life of a nation’s population is being improved. Obviously Kenya’s development economists and policy makers remain unaware of this.

To further show that the KKV programme is solely intended to give Kshs. 2,500 to as many youth as it can, the project is set up so that an “at risk” youth gets temporary employment for a maximum of 10 days. The means test to assess those “at risk” was questioned as well as the use of the provincial administration in implementation. Audience members testified that local chiefs were using the KKV as a means to solidify their influence in communities with no scrutiny. Negative ethnicity was also cited when a participant called Bill from Kiamaiko in Huruma told the forum that only youth from one community were being employed in his area. Another, George from Mathare said that the KKV supervisors looked 75 years old! He also told the forum that there were cases of supervisors demanding a cut of the earnings.

Payment was also an issue. Under the programme, the youth are paid two weeks AFTER the job and several cases were raised in the forum regarding delayed payment even after that time period. However, Adak of the KKV said that some youth had been involved in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the exercise to avert such incidents and even narrated an instance of M&E youth entering government offices questioning why they were unmanned. Though this sounds like empowering youth, the tale evoked memories of the dreaded Kanu youth wingers of the Moi regime who in their red-shirts terrorized everyone including civil servants.

As for the KKVs national steering committee and its offshoots, queries were raised by youth group members in the audience as to who actually appoints these committee members? A youth leader echoed the campaign gimmick question asking why the programme was under the Prime Minister’s office and not the Ministry of Youth Affairs? He reiterated that the initiative was being used as a cash cow for the provincial administration where bribes to be employed on the programme went as high as Kshs. 2,000 – leave alone that the total take home amount should be Kshs. 2,500!  The potential for corruption in this Kshs. 15 billion project was cited as being too high particularly where no checks and balances have been instituted. Adak, the KKV representative could only respond that the committees were manned by civil servants from roads, forestry, solid waste collection and other labour intensive government departments.

Siku njema ina kuja (A better day is coming)

But the ray of hope came from the recommendations of an earlier morning session where the forum was informed that a report will be presented to the government regarding the youth fund with the following demands:

  • An acknowledgment that the youth enterprise development fund is not structured in such a way as to eradicate poverty. The beneficiary criteria has not been well thought out and enables those who can access loans elsewhere to benefit to the exclusion of those that really need it.
  • The fund should not be so stringent in its loan disbursement: small quick turnaround loans should be included.
  • Devolvement of disbursement from commercial banks should be immediate and grassroot structures that are more accessible to Kenya’s youth should be promoted.

As for the Kazi Kwa Vijana, this policy was only slated to last until September 2009. However, the youth are growing more restless by the day. The only solution to avert a youth revolution is a full and committed implementation of Agenda 4.

Remarks By Secretary Of State Clinton At ‘Townterview’ Hosted by CNN and KTN

Clinton UoNVICE CHANCELLOR MAGOHA: Secretary Clinton, your Excellencies, Dr. Sally Kosgey, the minister for education, science, and technology, Chancellor Wanjui, PS higher education, Your Excellencies, invited guests, participants, ladies, and gentlemen, on behalf of the University of Nairobi and on my own behalf, I warmly welcome you all to the university and to this open dialogue forum. The University of Nairobi wishes for very successful and rewarding event. Thank you very much.

I now invite Honorable Dr. Sally Kosgey, the minister for higher education, to invite Secretary Clinton. (Applause.)

MINISTER KOSGEY: Secretary of State of the United States of America, congressmen – my friend, Congressman Payne, your Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen, I’m pleased to welcome you to the University of Nairobi.

May I salute you, Madame Secretary, for visiting Kenya and our continent so early in your new Administration. Half a century ago, a young, democratic government in the United States of America initiated the airlift program to assist an emerging Kenya address its intellectual capacity needs to run a new republic. This initiative led to other generous contributions by U.S. philanthropists and institutions. Many Kenyans have contributed and continue to contribute to the development of Kenya, who are beneficiaries of these initiatives from the United States of America. Today, many Kenyans of all generations continue to share values with the people of your country with reference to economic and political developments.

Madame Secretary, a few years ago, Kenya initiated a free universal primary education. Much has been done to make secondary education also free. We salute your country for your contributions to this sector. However, funding for higher education and also for science and technology remains low, yet we are aware that this sector is essential for development. We hope the United States of America will continue to support us in this field and work with us in enhancing and deepening the higher education and science and technology sector. We are particularly keen on targeted cooperation in science and technology and research for development.

Madame Secretary, the last time there was such a large gathering to hear a visitor at this university was on the occasion of a visit by a senator from Illinois who came here – (applause) – who came here to share his vision with young Kenyans. He definitely captured the imagination of many, and I’m pleased that today, you have found an opportunity to share with young Kenyans in your interactions the views and aspirations of all Kenyans and relations with the United States.

Madame Secretary, I want to emphasize once more that we are pleased to see you here; we are pleased that you have chosen to come to Kenya at the beginning of your official visit as the Secretary of State. Now, I want to hand over to Beatrice Marshall. Where are you?

MS. MARSHALL: Dr. Sally Kosgey, Minister – thank you very much indeed, Dr. Sally Kosgey, Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology. Now, welcome to this open forum. U.S. President Barack Obama was in Africa recently with a powerful message to a hopeful continent. He said, and I quote, “Countries like Kenya which had a per capita economy larger than South Korea’s when I was born have been badly outpaced. In my father’s life, it was partly tribalism and patronage in an independent Kenya that, for a long stretch, derailed his career.” End of quote.

Now given his Kenyan lineage, millions of Kenyans are expectantly looking to the President of the United States, a leader of the free world, to help in breaking our unique chains of poverty and underdevelopment. But the question is: Are these expectations realistic? Today, Kenyan youth and civil society have a rare opportunity to engage the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

But first, before we field those questions to Secretary Clinton, I’ll hand you over to my colleague, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

MR. ZAKARIA: Thank you, Beatrice. Thank you, all of you, for hosting this event, the University of Nairobi, the Government of Kenya, and of course, most importantly, thank you to Madame Secretary, the Secretary of State of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton. For all of those of you outside this hall, we are coming to you from Nairobi, a unique town hall being hosted by the University of Nairobi with a very special guest, the Secretary of State of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Madame Secretary, let me ask you a few questions to get us started and to let people get a sense of the kind of questions they should feel free to ask. You spoke a great deal when you have been in Kenya about the need for the reform agenda to be implemented, for the investigation and prosecution of post-election violence to take place, and you used language that was surprisingly frank, some people thought even tough.

In your conversations with Kenyan leaders – you met with all the senior leaders – did you get any assurances that things are moving in the right direction? Because so far, most external observers believe that they are not.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Fareed, I want to get to that because that’s a very important question, and I noticed the sign as I was driving into the university, “This is a corruption-free zone,” and I think that – (applause) – I think that the goal of the university and the young people here – civil society, many members of the private sector, and of course, reformers within government at all levels – is to expand that zone to cover the entire country and to provide the opportunity for people – (applause) – to have a chance to go as far as their hard work and talents will take them.

And I also really want to echo my thanks to the minister and to the chancellor and all the dignitaries here on the stage with us, and particularly to this great university, which has such a reputation for excellence not only in Africa, but beyond the continent. And of course, it is a pleasure to be at the university where now-President Obama came as a senator and delivered a very strong message even then. How many of you were here when President Obama, then-Senator Obama, arrived?

Well, I reread his speech and I just wanted to begin my response to Fareed’s very important question by reading the last paragraph of then-Senator, now President Obama’s speech at this university in 2006: “In today’s Kenya, it is that courage that will bring the reform so many of you desperately want and deserve. I wish all of you luck in finding this courage in the days and months to come, and I want you to know that as your ally, your friend, and your brother, I will be there to help in any way I can.” And the message that I delivered in public and in private was a message directly from President Obama. He cares deeply about this country. And it is very touching and moving to me to see the feelings of kinship and relationship that exists between the people of Kenya and our President.

So the question truly goes to the heart of the matter. The reform agenda is imperative for Kenya’s future to unlock the potential to fulfill the promise that Beatrice told us came from President Obama’s speech in Ghana, where he said something which students of economics know – that in the early 1960s, at the time of independence, smart investors bet on African countries like Kenya, and wrote off countries like South Korea. The argument was that Kenya had the infrastructure, it had the education, it had people with a sense of the future; it had fought a struggle for liberation.

And now, as President Obama pointed out in his speech in Ghana, the fact is that Kenya has not fulfilled its economic promise, and I believe, in part, because it hasn’t yet realized fully what it means to have a functioning, dynamic democracy, and a free press and an independent judiciary, and a sense of future gains from present-day sacrifice among the people who have run the country. The people of Kenya work very hard and the professional people in Kenya are among the best in the world. The private sector is dynamic. The government has to reform itself if Kenya will be all it can be.

That is the message that President Obama and I have delivered. It is tough, but it’s also lovingly presented. President Obama very much wants the people of Kenya to be the leaders of a reform movement that will deliver results for the people of Kenya, and where no one will any longer say that, as someone said to me just yesterday – the common parlance tragically summed up is, if you have a problem in Kenya, why hire a lawyer when you can buy a judge? (Laughter.)

So yes, we want to see the reform agenda because we know that it’s not just the violence after the election, but it is an accumulation of decisions that are not in the best interests of the people of Kenya. And the leadership with whom I met said that the constitutional reform will be coming forward – I hope it does – that police and judicial reform will be coming forward, and of course, the big question about how to end corruption and impunity in public service.

And I have urged that the Kenyan Government try to find the way forward to handle this themselves, but if that is not possible, and people think it is not, then the names that have been turned over to the International Court of Criminal Justice will be opened, and an investigation will begin, and Kenya will not be making these very tough decisions for itself, which is a kind of rite of passage for democracies, dealing with people and making sure impunity is not permitted.

So I hope and I pray that whatever route is taken, it leads to the reforms that are so necessary for this great country. And I’m joined in that by Congressman Donald Payne and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who are with me; Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, who was once our ambassador here; and of course, our current serving ambassador. All of us bring this message from President Obama.

MR. ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about one part of it you talked about, which is the potential for the names of the alleged perpetrators of the post-election violence to be sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This is something the Kenyan National Commission of Human Rights has recommended in the report that came out last month. Does it hinder your ability as Secretary of State of the United States to push these issues when you consider the fact that the United States is not itself a signatory to the International Criminal Court?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is a great regret, but it is a fact that we are not yet a signatory. But we have supported the work of the court and will continue to do so under the Obama Administration.

MR. ZAKARIA: But do you wish we were a signatory?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it – I think we could have worked out some of the challenges that are raised concerning our membership by our own government, but that has not yet come to pass. The way the court works is that a nation that is a signatory, including an African nation, could refer this matter of the post-election violence to the international court. And I saw a poll of Kenyans saying that a vast majority of Kenyans agree with the Waki Commission that that should be done. And in my conversations, even with ministers in the government who understand how important it is to deal with this matter, they too have said that probably that is the only road forward.

As an outsider and as someone who knows how difficult these decisions are, that is not something that I will play a role in, but I think it’s important that a decision be made. If there’s not going to be a special local tribunal that has confidence of the people, then I think the people deserve to know that someone is going to put in motion the process to hold people accountable, and it may well be that that is the ICC. So that’s going to be up to Kenyans.

MR. ZAKARIA: The second part of what you talked about was corruption, which is, as you know, a huge problem in Kenya. And while there has been talk about combating it, and the signs of corruption-free zones are now seen more often, in 20 years there has not been a successful prosecution of any Kenyan politician or official on corruption charges. Many people suggest that the only way to put teeth in this policy, to make good on the tough part of the tough love, is to withhold aid at some point if there is not reform on the corruption agenda.

Could you imagine a situation when the United States or other Western donors withhold aid because corruption is not being tackled?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that would not be our choice because a lot of our aid goes directly to nongovernmental organizations and to work of people like Wangari Maathai, my friend and the Nobel Prize winner from Kenya. And we don’t want to deprive the people who are doing work, like I saw yesterday at the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute, training women farmers who do 70 percent of the agricultural work in Kenya, like most of Africa.

So we are not considering that, but we are considering steps that would target individuals about whom there is overwhelming evidence and belief that they have contributed to and participated in corruption at a massive level, and also the kind of post-election violence and extrajudicial killings that are so troubling. That is a possibility that we will consider.

But let me raise another idea. I said in my speech yesterday before the AGOA Forum, quoting one of our famous judges, that sunlight is the best disinfectant. And I think there’s an opportunity for young people and for civil society to use modern technology to run corruption watches and reporting. There are some examples of this beginning around the world where you basically surface what is going on. And it goes on at all levels of society, and frankly, look, it goes on in our society. We have to go after it all the time ourselves. You have seen people get arrested in America, whether they’re governors or they’re Congress members, if there is a belief that they have committed an act of corruption.

And I think there ought to be a way to use interactive media, especially the internet, obviously, and some of the new vehicles like Twitter, et cetera, to report in real time allegations of corruption. My friend Nita Lowey, our congresswoman who is here, runs the committee in Congress that determines in the House of Representatives all the aid, the foreign aid. And she met over the past couple of days with women who are entrepreneurs. They get microfinance. They do work like beauty salon work or selling gasoline or doing work at a low level, many of them living in Kibera. And much of their hard-earned income goes to protection money, goes to bribes. So here they are working as hard as they can to raise their families, and everybody has their hand out.

Now, what if we had groups of young people anonymously reporting all of this? I think there ought to be new ways of thinking about how civil society can take on corruption. And of course, there needs to be leadership from all levels of government within the civil service, within the elected ranks of government, and reporting mechanisms. You have a very vibrant free press, as I have seen for myself, which does an excellent job on many of these issues. But I think even more could be done.

So the short answer is yes, we will consider consequences aimed at individuals, not aimed at the people of Kenya.

MR. ZAKARIA: For my last (inaudible) let me actually turn to Wangari Maathai, in a sense, which is – when you were nominated Secretary of State, The New York Times asked a bunch of people to offer up questions that people might ask of you, and one of the people they asked was Wangari Maathai. And I’m just going to ask her, if I may, to recall the question that you asked of the Secretary, which related to China’s influence in Africa, African leaders’ desires to build ties with China, and the potential you worried about. And I wonder if you could just express it.

MS. MAATHAI: Well, thank you very, very much, Mr. Zakaria. Secretary of State, it’s wonderful to have you here in Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of all of the people of this sub region in welcoming you here and saying thank you very much for coming.

At that time, and even now, there were – the concern that I – I have two concerns that I can probably bring out together. But the concern over China was the fact that here we are in a continent that is extremely rich. Africa is not a poor continent. Anything you want in the world is on this continent. It’s like the gods were on our side when the world was being created. (Applause.)

Yet we are considered among the poorest people on the planet. There’s something seriously wrong. And one of it, of course, is good governance.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

MS. MAATHAI: Even though we don’t like to be told, the truth of the matter is if you govern yourself in a responsible way, in an accountable way, if you share your resources in an equitable way, you’re more likely to please your people, and they are likely to have the energy to produce more. (Applause.)

So I was wondering, especially in relation to conflicts and competition over resources on this planet, what can a strong, powerful country like the United States of America do to persuade other strong countries like China to do business in Africa, with a consciousness that we must also demand from our leaders good governance?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great question, Wangari, great question. (Applause.)

MS. MAATHAI: So that we can – so that we do not allow ourselves to be exploited yet again by these oncoming, upcoming economical giants, but who come and want to do business with our leaders without wondering and being concerned about human rights issues, equity issues, and governance issues. Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Look, I think that’s one of the most important questions for Africa. Africa historically has been exploited during colonialism and post-colonialism by corporations and by your own leaders so that the fruits of this richness that exists in the earth, in the waters of Africa, have not gone to the people.

And it is one of the biggest concerns that I have, because there is so much money being made right now, and it’s not any one country; it’s not any one corporation. But it is unfortunately aided and abetted by poor governance that doesn’t realize that the money needs to go back to the people in very tangible ways to build the economy, to build the infrastructure, to create sustainable employment. Because extractive industries do not leave sustainable economies and environments unless there are rules that are enforced.

And I often use an example that I think is a good model – Botswana. At the end of the colonial period in Botswana, the people of Botswana will tell you it was very fortunate because the colonialists – in that case, it was Britain – left right before diamonds were discovered – (laughter) – right? And there was enlightened leadership in Botswana who said, “We have diamonds. What shall we do with them?” And what they did was to create a mechanism so that funding and revenues from the exploitation of the diamonds went to build the infrastructure. So those of you who have been to Botswana know they have a very good network of roads, they have potable water everywhere. I mean, they invested in their people.

Contrast that to what’s going on in the Congo, where I’ll be in a few days, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I’ll be in Goma, and I will be there primarily to speak out against the unspeakable violence against women and girls in eastern Congo. It is the worst example of man’s inhumanity to women. And women are being used in conflicts.

Now, what are the conflicts about? Well, yes, there are tribal and other reasons why the conflicts are going on, but get below the surface. It’s because there are mines in eastern Congo that produce the minerals that go into our cell phones and our other electronics. There is a lot of money being made by a lot of people, but it sure isn’t helping the people of the DRC.

I could go across the continent. Look at Nigeria, another great country. Nigeria imports petroleum products even though it’s the fifth-largest producer of petroleum in the world. That is bad governance. That is a failure of rules that are enforced for the benefit of the people. And we have got to speak out about this. And it is a question, as Wangari so rightly says, of who is in charge and whether they have the best interests – not of their own families in mind; everybody will take care of their own families – but of the people they are supposed to govern and lead.

And I am just absolutely convinced that Africa’s best days can be ahead if we get a hold of this whole question of the use of natural resources and who benefits and where the revenues go.

MR. ZAKARIA: And what do you say to Prime Minister Odinga if he says he doesn’t need lectures on good governance from outside? (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I had quite a good conversation with him, and I told him that I was bearing a message from the son of Kenya, Barack Obama. (Applause.)

MR. ZAKARIA: So it’s not really an outsider?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that he has a great deal of understanding of what we are trying to say. I mean, we are very committed to helping Kenya. But as President Obama said in his speech in Ghana, the future of Africa is up to Africans, and the future of Kenya is up to Kenyans.

But I don’t think we would be friends, as we have been for more than 50 years, if we did not share our concerns. It would be easy to just stand on the sidelines and say help us on terrorism, help us on Somalia, help us here, help us there, and not say, but how about really looking at these internal issues and trying to figure out what you’re going to do? Because we want Kenya to have a leadership role in the 21st century, and the people of Kenya to have the potential that your hard work and talent deserves.

MR. ZAKARIA: Beatrice Marshall from our affiliate, KTN, do you want to ask a few questions or gather together some of the extraordinary people here and have them ask some questions?

MS. MARSHALL: Right. Thanks, Fareed. We are going to take questions now from the floor. The floor is open and we’ll take our first question from Peter Karuki (ph.). Peter, you can ask your question. Please stand up, be brief and to the point.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary of State. My name is Peter Karuki (ph) from civil society. Now, following the general elections of 2007, the U.S. Government was actually one of the first foreign governments to recognize the results. That recognition was soon thereafter withdrawn. Now following the crisis that ensued, there was a commission formed to look into the election problem and electoral reforms proposals. Now that commission did make a finding that that election was itself a sham.

Now given the question of impunity that Kenya is facing, what is the position of the U.S. Government in regard to constitutional and legal change in government, given that the finding of that commission raises serious legality questions about this government? And I would like to know what your position is, given that Kenya is, in another three years, facing a general election. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Peter, our position is that the reform agenda is absolutely essential to be accomplished before the next election in order to avoid the kind of conflict and irregularities that were alleged and have been proven coming out of the last election.

In the work that I’ve done in many places around the world, no one can reform a government from the outside. It takes the people of the country and particularly the role that civil society and the private sector played in trying to deal with the aftermath of the election. So yes, I mean, we can encourage, we can lecture, we can offer assistance, we can try to highlight good practices. But it has to be done by the people of Kenya. And I think the electoral reform, the judicial reform, the police reform, the constitutional reform all have to be done before the next election. Now, how that happens is truly up to the government and the people of Kenya.

But let me just also say that what we saw coming out of that election, in terms of violence, was very disturbing because of the groups and the tribal violence that took place. There has to be a lot of outreach and discussion and healing at the local level. People have to believe in one Kenya, which was really the slogan and the goal coming out of colonialism. And so anything that can be done to push the reform agenda, to hold the government accountable – and there are people within in the government who want this reform agenda to go forward. I’ve had many conversations in the last 24 to 36 hours, intense conversations.

But it’s very often difficult inside a government to move the levers unless you can say, oh, but they’re pushing us, they’re pushing us. So there has to continue to be the kind of pressure and demands that came from civil society before. But I would also ask that you make sure it’s not just on this level, but the (inaudible) goes down into society so that people will not respond to provocation again, that they will feel that the reforms will benefit them and their families. I think that’s a big piece of what has to happen as well.

MS. MARSHALL: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much. We’ll take some more questions from the floor. Of course, President Obama has stressed on the importance of youth taking their opportunity, and today we’d like to hear a little bit more from Kenya’s youth.

Caroline (ph), could you please ask your question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think if you talk, it’ll pick up. Let’s try it, Caroline (ph).

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: No? Here comes Beatrice.

QUESTION: My name is Caroline Rutto (ph) from Citizens Assembly. The challenge that youth face in this country is lack of access to information, lack of employment, and lack of capital. I would like to ask how far or how will the U.S. Government help the youth access the skills, technology, and knowledge that can help them benefit from the AGOA?

The other thing I would like to ask is: How far are you willing to help youth also participate effectively? Youth try to participate, but there is no real level playing ground. They cannot participate in governance. And how far are you willing to help us mobilize, and to help us mobilize so that you can participate effectively in governance and demand for a corruption-free government? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I know that our Embassy and our government, mostly through USAID, the Agency for International Development, has worked with youth groups. I know the ambassador was telling me about some of the meetings he’s held with representatives of youth groups and civil society. And we want very much to encourage the next generation of leaders and to try to provide some of the support and the tools that young people need in order to participate. So we would welcome any specific suggestions.

We have, as you know, a very big commitment of aid programs, but we want to make sure that they go to where they will have the greatest impact. At the AGOA Forum, what we offered was more help by the United States to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses get into the American market. There are so many products that can go into the American market duty free, but a lot of people don’t know how to access it. So we are prepared, through our Embassy and through the very talented people who work there, to be of assistance. So if you have specific ideas, please let us know.

MS. MARSHALL: All right. We’ll take another question here from the floor.

QUESTION: My name is Martin Allo (ph) from the (inaudible) side of Kenya. I just wanted to stay with the issue of free and fair elections a bit, and perhaps ask you to clarify what the American position is, because we’ve seen in the recent past, beginning with Kenya, that we’re seeing less and less free elections, and then followed by Zimbabwe. In Kenya, we saw American position falter a little bit, first recognized and then retract. In Zimbabwe, there seemed to be a very clear stand that there wasn’t trust that Mugabe was going to do a free and fair election from the first instance.

And so it seems to me that once that has gone, we seem to see the same situation in Zimbabwe, power sharing in Kenya, power sharing. And there seems to be a silent (inaudible) he has to do with business with these, and that seems to be questioning the very idea of democracy. I’m wondering we can actually have some variations of democracy. Should we be expecting that American position will be very clear and very straight, that we cannot have anything less than free and fair elections? Thanks.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say three things about that. As some of you know who have followed Fareed’s work, he coined the phrase “illiberal democracy.” Elections are held, they can be free and fair, they can be unfree and unfair. But what happens is someone gets elected and then they basically begin to dismantle the building blocks of democracy: cracking down on the press, cracking down on the judiciary, employing corruption instead of merit. You know all of the aspects of that.

So clearly, it is not only our policy, but it is our intent to do everything we can to ensure as free and fair elections as possible. And there are many vehicles for doing that. I mean, the United States has groups that work to provide technical assistance and monitoring of elections. The European Union does. The United Nations does. There are a lot of different ways that we can participate with the Kenyan Government and Kenyan civil society to ensure that the elections are as free and fair as possible.

Once an election is held, of course, there is always the problem of winners and losers. And sometimes in a free and fair election, those who lose feel aggrieved and create foment within society, and their followers will never believe the election was free and fair, even if it was. We have a little experience of that ourselves, going back to our 2000 election where there was a lot of real pent-up rejection on the part of many Americans.

So holding elections that have credibility is something I believe every country owes its citizens. And I often look to India. Now think about India; this huge democracy with very hard-fought elections, and in the last 20 years, going back and forth between the Congress Party and the BJP. But they have figured out how to run an election where the result can be surprising and unpredicted but accepted. They moved elections into a civil service body that is immune from politics. They used – they were one of the very first to use computerized elections; 450 to 500 million people vote, many of whom are illiterate, but they have figured out a way to convey the basic message about who the people are running for office. I said, only half-jokingly, after our problems with our 2000 election and then our 2004 election and some of our constituencies, that we should outsource our elections to India. (Laughter.)

But there are models around the world. And there are lots of ways for civil society to look at the best practices, work with the university and the scientists and researchers and political scientists and others here, and say this is what a free and fair election looks like, and here are the foundational steps that have to be taken in order for it to be accepted.

Once the election happens, though, the United States, like every government, is left with a very difficult choice. And what we historically have done, and we did it in Zimbabwe, we rejected the Mugabe election. But the people within Zimbabwe came to us and said we’ve got to make the best of a very bad deal. The Prime Minister Tsvangirai was in Washington. The President and I met with him in the Oval Office. He said, look, this is very difficult for me. You’re in government with people who’ve tried to kill you and your associates for years. But this is for the best of the people of Zimbabwe, so please help us.

That puts us in a very difficult position. We don’t want to legitimize what was a wrong election. We don’t want to do anything that helps Mugabe and his supporters, because we reject their illegitimacy – we believe that about them. But when the people who have been on frontlines struggling come to you and say, please help us, we’re not going to turn away. We’re going to try to be thoughtful and careful and not – we said we’d help them on – helping farmers get their fields back in shape and get their crops in, and we would try to pay the schoolteachers directly. Because we heard from the reformers inside the government that they actually had a reformer minister of education who began to survey. The schools were in total disarray, the teachers had been scared off, the children no longer came. And one of the first things that this minister received was a telephone call from President Mugabe’s office telling the minister to come pick up his new Mercedes Benz. He said, “I don’t need a Mercedes Benz. I need teachers and schoolbooks.”

So this is a very difficult evaluation. So understand how we try to work though this.

MR. ZAKARIA: But if I may just press the question of – what he seems to be suggesting is is the message being sent out to African leaders is rig the election, refuse to leave power, and eventually there’ll be some kind of grand coalition which you’re a part of. (Applause.) And if you look at the Kenya Government, it’s 94 ministers, each drawing a salary of about $15,000 a year, which in Kenya is a fairly large sum of money, bound together in a kind of mutual compact of greed and corruption. Is that going to solve the problems of the country? (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, it is not. It is not going to solve the problems of the country. But I guess my message is that the United States cannot solve the problems of Kenya. And that as a government with many interests, and particular interest in the well-being and the future of the people of Kenya, and hopefully future leaders among this audience, we can take a position, like we have from time to time, where there is absolutely no pretense of democracy and we can have no diplomatic relations and we can have sanctions. But we don’t think that’s an appropriate response in a situation like this.

Politics is better than conflict. So even if you don’t like the political outcomes, because people have figured out ways to work with those against whom they have been involved in politics or even who they don’t believe have the best interest of the country at heart, it is not up to the United States, I do not believe, to say, well, we won’t work with you. It is up to us to do what we are doing, what the President has done, what I have done on this trip, which is to say we expect so much more of you, we believe in you and your potential.

But we cannot dictate to you who you have in your government. You have to determine how to influence and change this government, and do not be deterred by the difficulty of it. I think that is our message, Fareed, because we have a lot of very strong connections with Kenya. We want to continue supporting this university. We don’t want to say, well, we don’t like the government so we’re not going to support the university. I don’t think that’s a very smart conclusion to draw.

MS. MARSHALL: All right. Part of your itinerary will take you to the DR Congo, and we have here a student from the DRC with a question. Go ahead with your question, please.

QUESTION: My name is Jean Bonair Congolu (ph). I’m, as I said, a citizen of Democratic Republic of Congo and (inaudible) post-graduate (inaudible) conflict in this university. And it seems you have added your voice in what is going on in Goma all eastern Congo. As you are going to be there very soon, my concern is as you are going there, because the problem in Congo is the multi-billion company who are outside Africa, who are influencing the ongoing conflict in the DRC. What is your foreign policy takes of the multimillion company who are financing conflict in that region?

Secondly is the role of the militias, the armed groups. If those are non-invited or those are invited by the neighboring states, what is the American takes in ending the militia’s activity, as you said, raping women, killing children, recruiting the young men like us to join the army by force so that they may continue disturbing the government of Kinshasa? And another thing is –

MR. ZAKARIA: How about at least we keep it to those two very important questions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, obviously, we are very concerned about conditions in the DRC. And in many ways, the problems that we see in the DRC are so acute because much of the country is ungoverned. In the entire country, I think it’s right to say there’s only something like 300 miles of paved road. It is a very difficult set of challenges that we’re facing in trying to work to improve governance and the rule of law inside the DRC. But we are very committed to doing so.

But we also, while we’re kind of working to try to change things in the medium and long term, we have these short-term emergencies of the violence in the east, which is militia-fueled, which has been going on for years. And there are many different fingers in that pot, stirring it, and creating the conflict.

And we are looking for ways to try to create conditions where the corporations and the countries who are exploiting the mineral wealth understand it is in their interest to try to help diminish the conflict, where the UN peacekeepers play an even more effective role, where the military of the DRC is well enough trained and committed to helping to end the conflict.

So we are working on both of those levels, dealing with the crisis and the emergency and trying to help set some processes in motion that can create a better outcome over the next several years. It’s very difficult. I’m not going to sit here and tell you we have the answers. The United States, even with our new President, cannot tell people what to do and expect it to happen. You have to work with people. You have to create the conditions that will change the behaviors and realize the kind of outcomes that we think are in the interests of the people of these countries.

MS. MARSHALL: Secretary Clinton, we – you are going to be meeting Somalia authorities during your visit here in Kenya. The concerns of America in regards with instability in the Horn of Africa region, what will be your message to the Somalia authorities? What will be your message to the Horn of Africa leaders?

And secondly, sanctions against Eritrea, the U.S. has threatened sanctions against Eritrea. Will that assist in restoring, really, stability in Somalia or helping in the problems of Somalia?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve had many conversations about Somalia over the last days here. And with the border that Kenya shares with Somalia, the instability in Somalia is of great concern. It’s also a humanitarian issue because about 10,000 Somali refugees come across the border when the fighting is intense every month. And so there’s a lot that Kenya worries about, and understandably so. And we’re – I’m going to be meeting with Sheikh Sharif, the president of Transitional Federal Government. And was it a perfect election? Of course not. But the legitimacy of his election is something that we want to recognize and support him as he tries to assert governance over parts of Somalia that have been riven with conflict since 1992. It’s a tragedy. I mean, there are many Somalis in Nairobi and in Kenya, people who would love to go home if they could make a living and raise their families in peace, and they cannot.

So our goal is to try to help create conditions of stability. And the African Union has military forces in Somalia, a program called AMISOM. They are trying to create areas of their conflict-free zones. We need to get some of the neighbors to quit funding the terrorist organization, al-Shabaab. And I think there’s a lot of work to be done there. We’ve made it clear that we want to be supportive. But again, this is an African-led mission, and we applaud that and we want to support the African intervention into Somalia.

MS. MARSHALL: All right. We’ll hear more from the floor and our young people. Go ahead with your question. Please be brief and to the point.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Yoshin Amori (ph). I work for (inaudible) youth initiatives. I have a question. You have had a meeting with the prime minister and the president and other state and non-state actors. What is your impression on the existence, if at all, of political – real political goodwill for implementation of real reforms in Kenya? And if at all, you may have lost hope on our leadership, the way Kenyans have, then what do you think are the options that Kenyans have to ensure that we reform this country and that we have a leadership that will implement what Kenyans want? And what would be the role of the United States in implementing such a strategy? Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I work for a president who believes in hope – (laughter) – and so we don’t give up hope, we just try to figure out different ways to see it made into reality. As I said, I think that there are people within the leadership – I’m not going to name names, I just would be doing that based on my own impressions, which I don’t think would be fair – but there are people within the leadership who really understand the necessity for these reforms. Whether they can be successful or not is still up in the air.

But at the very least, they must do electoral reform to avoid the kind of outcome that you experienced before. And they must do judicial and police reform. Put aside the question of holding people accountable and ending impunity, which I think is much harder for them to get their arms around because of the obvious implications. But on electoral reform, police, and judicial reform and constitutional reform, there should be a constant pressure from civil society and the private sector.

And I think there are ways of doing that, making this a daily effort and not losing hope, because there have been many situations where reform took a long time and it was very hard won. Think about our civil rights revolution. There are many – we could be transported back to Alabama or Mississippi in the 1950s or the early 1960s. And instead of me sitting here, it might be Dr. King or one of our other great civil rights leaders. And the questions might be, well, why? We can’t keep waiting. We have to do this. It’ll never change. And the answer would be, yes, you have to organize and you have to be smarter and you have to work harder. And guess what? We finally got there. And we now have a president who would not be president were it not for the sacrifice and the persistence and the perseverance of those who came before. So it is my hope that those of you who are pushing for reform, keep thinking about ways of putting the right kinds of pressure to bear on those in power.

And when you say, well, what else can you do, Kenya strikes me as a very political culture. I’ve talked with Americans who have worked here in the embassies. They’ve been around Kenya. They’ve been in small villages. Everybody has a political opinion. (Laughter.) I mean, you could never have gotten out of your village and maybe not even be educated, but you understand that politics counts in Kenya. And so you think about it and you express your opinion. You have to then not just be in civil society, as important as that is and the path that many of you have chosen, and I applaud you for it, but at the same time, some of you have to be in politics.

Max Weber talked about the hard boring of hard boards in politics. And very often, the people who are left standing are the people who just never gave up. So you have to be willing to take on the political challenge as well as the reform challenge. Start now. I mean, I don’t know enough about Kenyan politics, but are there parties that either you can join or you can form? Are there ways of getting out and beginning to plan for the 2012 elections right now? I mean, I’ll tell you, we have people in America who are already thinking of running for president in 2012 and 2016 and 2020.

MR. ZAKARIA: Nobody on this stage.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Nobody on this stage, however. (Laughter.)

MR. ZAKARIA: Last question from the floor.

MS. MARSHALL: Yes, yes. We are going to take our final question from Halima (ph).

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Halima Mohamed Saleh (ph). I work with (inaudible) Kenya from coastal region. I wanted to ask because Muslim community, especially the women, have been marginalized. And I don’t know what the United States of America have to contribute to the (inaudible) success of the Muslim community. Second thing is that if you have a program, probably on international dialogue, so that people can understand more on our community and instead of actually criticizing and not wanting to know more on Islamic culture. Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Those are very good questions and good points. Let me just – let me go specifically to her questions and then just broaden it as I end my answer.

Yes, we do have programs aimed at the Muslim community. As you know, the President’s speech in Cairo was meant to be the beginning of a dialogue. We are working through the State Department and the rest of our government to create such discussions both within the Muslim community and between the Muslim community and other communities. And I am particularly concerned about opportunities for women, women of all faiths, all tribes, all ethnicities, all everything. I think that no society can be successful unless women have their full rights and have the ability to participate fully in their countries. (Applause.)

So this is an area that we are particularly concerned about. And I hope that – is somebody from the embassy, Ambassador, that if we could get your name, so we could follow up with you to see what specifically we could do?

But let me broaden this. I think that some of the violence that came after the last election was shocking to Kenyans. And I believe there is a great opportunity for civil society to engage in a dialogue across Kenyan society, not just with Muslims, but with different parts of the country, with different tribes in the country, to begin to really figure out how you unify the country and create a sense of commitment to the future that will benefit everyone. And that would be a great undertaking for Kenyan civil society to decide to do.

MS. MARSHALL: All right. I’ll hand over to Fareed. I understand our time is limited.

Fareed.

MR. ZAKARIA: Our time is limited, and I’m just going to end with one very specific question. This is a news report I saw while preparing for this town hall, and it involves a woman, a young woman, a very attractive young woman. A Kenyan city councilman says he offered Bill Clinton 40 goats and 20 cows for his daughter’s hand in marriage five years ago. (Laughter.) He is still awaiting an answer. And I thought on this occasion, you know, Mrs. Clinton, if you think about it – (laughter and applause) – if you think in the current global economic climate with asset values have gone down, your stock portfolio is probably down, your government has had – your husband has had to do a little bit of government work, take time off from the private sector, it’s not a bad offer. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, my daughter is her own person. She’s very independent. So I will convey this very kind offer. (Laughter.)

MR. ZAKARIA: And we thank Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We thank the University of Nairobi, the Government of Kenya and our associates, our affiliate, and (inaudible). Thank you so much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Beatrice. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Snippet from the University of Nairobi Dialogue

Wakati Mpya wa Matumaini – Hotuba ya Rais Barack Obama, Accra, Ghana, Julai 11, 2009

Obama in AccraHabari za asubuhi. Ni heshima kubwa kwangu kuwa Accra, na kuzungumza na wawakilishi wa raia wa Ghana. Ninashukuru sana kwa makaribisho niliyopewa, pamoja na Michelle, Malia na Sasha Obama vile vile. Historia ya Ghana ni kubwa, uhusiano baina ya nchi zetu mbili ni imara, na ninaona fahari kwamba hii ni ziara yangu ya kwanza Afrika chini ya jangwa la Sahara nikiwa rais wa Marekani.

Ninazungumza nanyi baada ya ziara ndefu.  Nilianzia Urusi, kwenye mkutano wa kilele kati ya mataifa mawili makubwa.  Nikasafiri Italia, kuhudhuria mkutano wa viongozi wa nchi zinazoongoza dunia kiuchumi. Na nimekuja hapa Ghana kwa sababu moja rahisi: karne ya 21 itaathiriwa na yale yanayotokea  siyo tu mijini Rome au Moscow au Washington, lakini na yale yanayotokea Accra vilevile.

Huu ni ukweli mtupu wa wakati ambapo mipaka baina ya watu imezidiwa nguvu na uhusiano wetu.  Ustawi wenu utapanua ustawi wa Marekani. Afya yenu na usalama wenu utachangia ule wa dunia.  Na uimara wa demokrasia yenu utasaidia kuendeleza haki za binadamu kwa watu kila mahali.

Kwa hivyo sizioni nchi na watu wa Afrika kama ulimwengu uliojitenga;  Ninaiona Afrika kama sehemu ya kimsingi ya ulimwengu wetu uliounganishwa–kama washirika wa Marekani kwa niaba ya mustakabali tunaowatakia watoto wetu wote.  Ushirika huo lazima msingi wake uwe uwajibikaji kwa pande zote, na hili ndilo ninalotaka kuwazungumzia leo.

Ni lazima tuanze na kanuni ya kimsingi kwamba mustakabali wa Afrika uko juu ya Waafrika.

Ninasema haya nikijua vyema kabisa hali ya zamani ya  msiba ambayo mara nyingine imedhikisha eneo hili la dunia. Nina damu ya Afrika ndani yangu, na hadithi ya familia yangu inazingira maafa na vilevile ushindi wa hadithi kuu ya Afrika.

Babu yangu alikuwa mpishi wa Waingereza nchini Kenya, na ingawa alikuwa mzee aliyeheshimiwa katika kijiji chake, waajiri wake walimwita “mvulana” kwa muda mrefu wa maisha yake. Alikuwa ukingoni mwa harakati za ukombozi wa Kenya, lakini bado aliwekwa jela kwa muda mfupi katika enzi za ukandamizaji. Katika maisha yake, ukoloni haukuwa tu kuweka mipaka isiyo ya asili au masharti yasiyo ya haki katika biashara—ulikuwa kitu kilichozoelewa binafsi, siku nenda siku rudi, mwaka nenda mwaka rudi.

Baba yangu alikua akichunga mbuzi katika kijiji kidogo, umbali usiopimika kutoka vyuo vikuu vya Kimarekani ambako hatimaye alikuja kupata elimu. Alikomaa wakati wa enzi ya matumaini ya ajabu katika Afrika.  Mapambano ya kizazi cha baba yake yalikuwa yanazalisha mataifa mapya, kuanzia hapa hapa Ghana. Waafrika walikuwa wanajielimisha na kuchukua misimamo kwa njia mpya kabisa.  Historia ilikuwa inasonga mbele.

Lakini licha ya maendeleo ambayo yamefanyika—na kumekuwepo na maendeleo mengi katika sehemu kadhaa za Afrika— vile vile tunajua kwamba sehemu kubwa ya ahadi hiyo haijatimizwa bado.  Nchi kama vile Kenya, ambayo ilikuwa na uchumi mkubwa kwa mtu mmoja mmoja kuliko Korea Kusini wakati nilipozaliwa, imepitwa vibaya. Magonjwa na migogoro imevuruga baadhi ya maeneo ya bara la Afrika. Katika sehemu nyingi, matumaini ya kizazi cha baba yangu yamegeuka kuwa ubeuzi, hata kukata tamaa.

Ni rahisi kunyoosha vidole, na kuwabandikia  watu wengine lawama za matatizo haya. Ndiyo, ramani ya ukoloni ambayo haikuwa na maana kubwa ilizusha migogoro, na nchi za Magharibi mara nyingi zimeshughulikia bara la Afrika kama mlezi, badala ya mshirika. Lakini nchi za Magharibi haziwajibiki na kuharibiwa kwa uchumi wa Zimbabwe mnamo mwongo uliopita, au vita ambamo watoto wameandikishwa kama wapiganaji. Katika maisha ya baba yangu, ni ukabila na upendeleo katika Kenya huru ambao kwa muda mrefu uliiangusha kazi yake, na tunajua kwamba ufisadi kama huu ni ukweli wa maisha ya kila siku kwa watu wengi mno.

Bila shaka tunajua pia kwamba hiyo si hadithi nzima. Hapa Ghana, mnatuonyesha sura ya Afrika ambayo mara nyingi mno inapuuzwa na ulimwengu ambao unaona tu maafa au mahitaji ya hisani. Watu wa Ghana wamejibidisha kuiweka demokrasia katika mizizi imara, kukiwepo mabadiliko ya utawala kwa amani hata katika uchaguzi ulioshindaniwa vikali. Na kukiwa na utawala ulioboreka na jamii inayoibuka ya kiungwana, uchumi wa Ghana umeonyesha kima cha kuvutia cha ustawi.

Maendeleo haya labda yanakosa msisimko wa harakati za ukombozi za karne ya 20, lakini zingatia: hatimaye yatakuwa muhimu zaidi. Kwa kuwa ni muhimu mkubwa kuibuka kutoka kwenye udhibiti wa taifa jingine, hata ni muhimu zaidi vile vile kujijengea taifa lenu wenyewe.

Kwa hivyo ninaamini kwamba wakati huu ni muhimu kwa Ghana—kama ilivyo kwa Afrika—kama wakati baba yangu alipokomaa na mataifa mapya yalikuwa yakizaliwa.  Huu ni wakati mpya wa ahadi.  Ila tu wakati huu, tumejifunza kwamba haitakuwa watu mashuhuri kama Nkrumah na Kenyatta watakaoamua mustakabali wa Afrika. Badala yake itakuwa ninyi—wanaume na wanawake katika bunge la Ghana na watu mnaowakilisha. Na juu ya yote itakuwa vijana—wakijawa na vipawa na nguvu na matumaini—ambao wanaweza kudai mustakabali ambao wengi sana katika kizazi cha baba yangu hawakupata kamwe.

Ili kutambua ahadi hiyo, ni lazima kwanza tutambue ukweli wa kimsingi ambao mmehui hapa Ghana: maendeleo yanategemea utawala bora.  Hicho ndicho kiambato ambacho kimekosekana katika mahali pengi mno, kwa muda mrefu mno. Hayo ndiyo mabadiliko yanayoweza kufungua uwezo wa Afrika. Na huo ni wajibu ambao unaweza kutimizwa na Waafrika tu.

Na kuhusu Marekani na nchi za Magharibi, ahadi yetu lazima ipimwe kwa kiwango zaidi ya dola tunazotumia. Nimeahidi nyongeza kubwa zaidi katika misaada yetu ya kigeni.  Lakini dalili halisi ya ufanisi lazima iwe kama sisi ni washirika katika kujenga uwezo wa mabadiliko ya mageuzi – siyo tu kama chanzo cha msaada unaosaidia watu kukwangua.

Wajibu huu wa pande zote mbili lazima uwe msingi wa ushirikiano wetu.  Na leo, nitalenga maeneo manne hasa ambayo ni muhimu kwa mustakabali wa Afrika na ulimwengu mzima unaoendelea: demokrasia, nafasi, afya; na kutanzuliwa kwa migogoro kwa njia za amani.

Kwanza, ni lazima tuziunge mkono serikali zenye demokrasia imara na zilizo endelevu.

Kama nilivyosema Cairo, kila taifa linaipa demokrasia uhai katika njia yake ya kipekee, na kwa kuzingatia desturi zake. Lakini historia inatoa uamuzi ulio bayana: serikali ambazo zinaheshimu utashi wa watu wao wenyewe zina ustawi zaidi, ziko imara zaidi, na zinafanikiwa zaidi ya serikali zisizofanya hivyo.

Hii ni zaidi ya kuwa na uchaguzi tu—pia ni juu ya kile kinachotokea kati yao. Kuna aina nyingi za ukandamizaji, na mataifa mengi sana yamekabiliwa na matatizo ambayo yanapelekea raia wake kuwa maskini. Hakuna nchi itakayoumba utajiri ikiwa viongozi wake wanatumia uchumi kujitajirisha wenyewe, au polisi wanaweza kununuliwa na walanguzi wa madawa ya kulevya.  Hakuna biashara yoyote inayotaka kuwekeza mahali ambapo serikali inajichukulia asilimia 20 vivi hivi au mkuu wa Mamlaka ya Forodha ni mla rushwa. Hakuna mtu yeyote anayetaka kuishi katika jumuiya ambako utawala wa kisheria unageuzwa kuwa utawala wa ukatili na hongo. Hii si demokrasia, huo ni udhalimu, na sasa ni wakati wake kukoma.

Katika karne ya 21, taasisi zenye uwezo, zinazotegemewa, na zilizo wazi ndizo ufunguo wa mafanikio — mabunge yaliyo imara na majeshi ya polisi yaliyo maaminifu; mahakimu na waandishi wa habari walio huru; sekta ya kibinafsi iliyochangamka na jumuiya ya kiraia. Hivi ni vitu vinavyoipa demokrasia uhai, kwa sababu ndivyo vitu vyenye maana katika maisha ya watu.

Mara kwa mara Waghana wamechagua utawala wa kikatiba badala ya utawala wa nguvu.   Kuonyesha roho ya kidemokrasia inayowezesha nguvu ya watu wenu kufanikiwa.  Tunaona hivyo katika viongozi wanaokubali kushindwa kwa hisani, na washindi wanaozuia miito ya kutumia nguvu dhidi ya upinzani.  Tunaona roho hiyo katika waandishi  wa habari jasiri kama vile Anas Aremeyaw Anas, ambaye alihatarisha maisha yake kuripoti ukweli. Tunaiona katika polisi kama vile Patience Quaye, ambaye alimshtaki mwuzaji wa kwanza wa binadamu nchini Ghana. Tunaiona katika vijana ambao wanalalamikia udhalili na upendeleo, na kushiriki katika mchakato wa kisiasa.

Kote barani Afrika, tumeona mifano isiyohesabika ya watu wanaoshika hatamu ya kudura yao, na kufanya mabadiliko kuanzia chini hadi juu. Tumeona nchini Kenya, ambako jamii ya kiraia na wafanyibiashara walishirikiana kusaidia kusimamisha ghasia zilizotokea baada ya uchaguzi. Tuliiona Afrika Kusini ambapo zaidi ya theluthi tatu za raia nchini humo walipiga kura katika uchaguzi wa hivi karibuni – uchaguzi wa nne tangu mwisho wa ubaguzi wa rangi.  Tuliiona Zimbabwe ambako shirika la Election Support Network lilikabiliana na ukandamizaji wa kikatili na kusimamia kanuni kwamba kura ya mtu ni haki yake isiyopingika.

Zingatia: historia iko upande wa Waafrika hawa hodari, na sio wale wanaotumia mapinduzi au kubadilisha Katiba ili wakae madarakani. Afrika haihitaji wababe, inahitaji taasisi imara.

Marekani haitajaribu kubandika mfumo wowote wa serikali kwenye taifa jingine lolote – ukweli muhimu wa demokrasia ni kwamba kila taifa linajiukilia kudura yake.  Tutakachofanya ni kuongeza msaada kwa watu wanaowajibika na hali kadhalika taasisi zinazowajibika, kukiwa na lengo la kusaidia utawala bora —katika mabunge, yanayodhibiti matumizi mabaya ya madaraka na kuhakikisha kwamba sauti za upinzani zinasikika; utawala wa kisheria, unaohakikisha utawala sawa wa haki; kushiriki kwa raia, ili vijana wahusike; na ufumbuzi wa ubunifu katika rushwa kama vile uwajibikaji kwa umma, huduma zinazotolewa na mashini, kuimarisha simu za kuripoti ubadhirifu, na kuwalinda wale wanaotoa habari za mambo ya kisirisiri ili kuendeleza uwazi na uwajibikaji.

Na tunapotoa msaada huu, nimeiagiza serikali yangu kuorodhesha rushwa kama suala katika ripoti yetu ya kila mwaka kuhusu Haki za Binadamu. Watu kila mahali wanapaswa kuwa na haki ya kuanzisha biashara au kupata elimu bila kutoa hongo. Tuna wajibu wa kuwasaidia wale wanaofanya mambo yao kwa kuwajibika na kuwatenga wale wanaotenda kinyume, na  hivyo ndivyo Marekani itakavyofanya.

Na hili linaelekea moja kwa moja kwenye eneo la pili la ushirikiano — kusaidia maendeleo yanayowatolea watu wengi zaidi nafasi.

Kukiwa na utawala bora, sina shaka kwamba Afrika inashika ahadi ya msingi mpana zaidi wa ustawi.  Bara lina utajiri wa mali asili. Na kuanzia wajasiriamali wa simu za mkononi hadi wakulima, Waafrika wameonyesha uwezo na kupania kuunda fursa zao wenyewe. Lakini tabia za kale pia lazima zivunjwe.

Kutegemea bidhaa—au zao moja linalouzwa nje ya nchi– kunarundika utajiri mikononi mwa wachache, na kuwaacha watu kuwa rahisi kuathirika na mididimio. Nchini Ghana kwa mfano, mafuta yanaleta fursa kubwa na mmewajibika katika kujitayarisha kwa mapato. Lakini Waghana wengi mno wanajua mafuta hayawezi kuwa kakao mpya. Kutoka Korea Kusini hadi Singapore, historia inaonyesha kwamba nchi hustawi zinapowekeza katika watu wao na miundombinu; wanapoendeleza viwanda mbalimbali vya uuzaji wa bidhaa nje ya nchi, kuunda kundi la wafanyikazi wenye ujuzi, na kuumba nafasi kwa biashara ndogo ndogo na za kati, na zinazobuni kazi.

Na Waafrika wanapofikia ahadi hii, Marekani itawajibika zaidi katika kunyoosha  mkono wetu.  Kwa kupunguza gharama zinazowaendea washauri na utawala wa Magharibi, tunaweza kuweka rasilmali mikononi mwa wale wanaoihitaji, wakati tukiwafundisha kujitegemea zaidi. Hii ndiyo sababu ari yetu ya dola $3.5 bilioni za mpango wa usalama wa chakula zinalenga njia na teknolojia mpya kwa wakulima—siyo tu kuwapeleka wazalishaji wa Kimarekani au bidhaa barani Afrika.  Na msaada peke yake si ufumbuzi.  Madhumuni ya misaada ya kigeni lazima yawe kuunda hali ambayo misaada hiyo haihitajika tena.

Marekani inaweza kuongeza juhudi kuendeleza biashara na uwekezaji. Mataifa tajiri lazima yafungue milango yetu kwa bidhaa kutoka Afrika kwa njia ya maana. Na pale ambapo kuna utawala bora, tunaweza kupanua ustawi kupitia ushirikiano wa umma na makundi ya kibinafsi ambao unawekeza katika barabara bora na umeme.  Ujenzi wa uwezo unaowafundisha watu kukuza biashara, huduma za kifedha zinazofikia sehemu maskini na zile za mashambani.  Hili ni kwa ajili ya maslahi yetu — kwa kuwa watu wanaponyanyuliwa kutoka kwenye ufukara na utajiri kuundwa Afrika, masoko mapya yatafunguka kwa bidhaa zetu.

Eneo moja ambalo linaonekana kuwa la hatari zisizokanika na matumaini yasiyo na kifani ni nishati. Afrika hutoa kiasi kidogo zaidi cha hewa chafu kuliko sehemu nyingine yoyote duniani, lakini ni bara linalotishwa zaidi na mabadiliko ya hali ya hewa.  Sayari inayozidi kuongezeka joto itasambaza maradhi, kupunguza fungu la maji na kutokomeza mimea, huku ikiunda hali inayosababisha baa la njaa na migogoro zaidi.  Sisi sote – hasa ulimwengu ulioendelea — tuna wajibu wa kupunguza kasi ya mielekeo hii—kupitia hatua za kuzuia na kubadilisha jinsi tunavyotumia nishati. Lakini tunaweza pia kushirikiana na Waafrika kugeuza mgogoro huu kuwa fursa ya manufaa.

Pamoja, tunaweza kushirikiana kwa niaba ya sayari na ustawi wetu, na kuzisaidia nchi kupata nguvu zaidi, huku zikiepuka awamu chafu zaidi ya maendeleo.  Kote barani Afrika, kuna nishati nyingi sana ya upepo na jua; nishati ya joto la ardhi na nishati inayotokana na viumbe. Kuanzia Bonde la Ufa hadi majangwa ya Afrika Kaskazini; kuanzia pwani ya Magharibi hadi mimea ya Afrika kusini—zawadi za asili za Afrika zisizo na kikomo zinaweza kuzalisha nishati yake zenyewe, huku kukisafirishwa nje nishati safi na yenye faida.

Hatua hizi zina umuhimu kupita takwimu za ustawi zilizopo kwenye mizania.  Zinahusiana na kama kijana mwenye elimu anaweza kupata kazi ya kipato kinachomwezesha kuisaidia familia yake; mkulima anaweza kuhamishia bidhaa zake sokoni; mjasiriamali mwenye wazo jema anaweza kuanzisha biashara.  Ni kuhusu heshima ya kazi.  Ni kuhusu nafasi ambayo lazima iwepo kwa Waafrika mnamo karne ya 21.

Kama vile utawala ni muhimu kwa nafasi, pia ni muhimu kwa eneo la tatu nitakalozungumzia—kuimarisha afya ya umma.

Mnamo miaka ya hivi karibuni, maendeleo makubwa yamefanyika katika sehemu kadhaa za Afrika. Watu wengi zaidi wanaishi kwa uzalishaji wakiwa na VVU/UKIMWI, na kupata dawa zinazohitajika. Lakini wengi mno bado wanakufa kutokana na magonjwa ambayo hayapaswi kuwaua. Watoto wanapouawa kwa sababu ya kuumwa na mbu, na akina mama wanakufa wakati wa kujifungua, ndipo tunatambua kwamba lazima maendeleo yafanyike.

Lakini kwa sababu ya vichocheo – ambavyo mara nyingi vinatolewa na mataifa ya wafadhili  — madaktari na manesi wengi wa Afrika inaeleweka huenda nchi za ng’ambo, au hufanyia kazi programu zinazopambana na ugonjwa mmoja tu. Hii inaunda pengo katika matunzo na hatua za kimsingi za kuzuia magonjwa. Wakati huo huo, Waafrika binafsi lazima wafanye maamuzi ya kuwajibika yanayozuia kuenea kwa magonjwa, huku wakiendeleza huduma za afya katika jumuiya na nchi zao.

Kote barani Afrika tunaona mifano ya watu wakitatua matatizo haya. Nchini Nigeria, juhudi zinazoshirikisha imani mbalimbali baina ya Wakristo na Waislamu zimeweka mfano wa ushirikiano katika kupambana na malaria. Hapa nchini Ghana na kote barani Afrika, tunaona mawazo ya ubunifu yakijaza pengo katika huduma za matunzo—kwa mfano, kupitia mipango kama ari za E-Health zinazowawezesha madaktari katika miji mikubwa kuwasaidia wale wanaofanya kazi katika miji midogo.

Marekani itaunga mkono juhudi hizi kupitia mkakati kamili wa afya ya kimataifa. Kwa sababu katika karne ya 21, tunahimizwa kuchukua hatua na dhamiri yetu na maslahi yetu ya pamoja. Mtoto anapofariki mjini Accra, kutokana na ugonjwa unaozuilika, hiyo inatupunguza sote kila mahali. Na magonjwa yanapoenea bila kudhibitiwa katika pembe yoyote ya dunia, tunajua kwamba yanaweza kusambaa kuvuka bahari na mabara.

Hii ndiyo sababu Utawala wangu umeahidi dola $63 bilioni kukabiliana na changamoto hizi. Tukiendeleza juhudi nzuri zilizoanzishwa na Rais Bush, tutaendeleza mapambano dhidi ya VVU/UKIMWI. Tutaendelea kulisaka lengo la kukomesha vifo kutokana na malaria na kifua kikuu, na kutokomeza polio.  Tutapambana na maradhi ya tropiki yaliyopuuzwa.  Na hatutakabiliana na  maradhi haya kwa kujitenga — tutawekeza katika mifumo ya afya ya umma inayohimiza uzima, na kulenga afya ya akina mama na watoto.

Na  tunaposhirikiana kwa niaba ya mustakabali wa afya bora, lazima pia tukomeshe uharibifu usiotokana na maradhi, bali unatokana na binadamu–na kwa hivyo eneo la mwisho nitakalozungumzia ni migogoro.

Sasa wacha niwe wazi: Afrika si karagosi wa bara lililokumbwa na vita. Lakini kwa Waafrika wengi mno, migogoro imekuwa sehemu ya maisha, ikidumu kama vile jua.  Kuna vita ya kugombea ardhi na maliasili. Na bado ni rahisi mno kwa wale wasio na dhamiri kuchochea jumuiya nzima kupigana miongoni mwa imani na makabila.

Migogoro hii ni mzigo mzito shingoni mwa Afrika.  Sote tuna njia za kujitambulisha — za kabila, za dini au uraia.  Kujifasili kwa kumpinga mtu ambaye anatoka kabila tofauti, au anayemwabudu mtume tofauti, hakuna nafasi katika karne ya 21. Tofauti za makabila ni chanzo cha nguvu na si sababu ya mfarakano. Sisi sote ni watoto wa Mungu. Sote tuna mahitaji yanayofanana—kuishi  kwa amani na usalama; kupata elimu na kupata fursa; kupenda ndugu na jamaa zetu, jumuiya zetu, na Mungu wetu.  Huo ndio ubinadamu wetu wa kawaida.

Hii ndiyo sababu lazima sote tusimame pamoja kupinga unyama miongoni mwetu.  Kamwe si haki kulenga wasio na hatia.  Ni adhabu ya kifo kuwalazimisha watoto kuua katika vita.  Ni kilele cha uhalifu na uoga kuwalaani wanawake na kuwaweka katika vitendo vya mfumo wa kubakwa kusiko na kikomo. Ni lazima tuwe mashahidi kwa thamani ya kila mtoto katika Darfur na heshima ya kila mwanamke nchini Congo.  Hakuna imani au utamaduni unaohalalisha maovu wanayotendewa.  Sisi sote lazima tujitahidi kutafuta amani na usalama unaohitajika kwa ajili ya maendeleo.

Waafrika wanasimama kwa niaba ya mustakabali huu.  Hapa pia, Ghana inasaidia kuelekeza njia inayofaa. Waghana wanapaswa kuona fahari kwa mchango wenu katika juhudi za ulinzi wa amani kuanzia Congo hadi Liberia na Lebanon, na katika juhudi zenu za kupambana na baa la ulanguzi wa madawa ya kulevya. Tunafurahia juhudi zinazochukuliwa na mashirika kama vile Umoja wa Afrika na ECOWAS kufumbua migogoro, kulinda amani na kuwasaidia wale walio na shida. Na tunahimiza mtazamo wa mwundo wa chombo imara cha usalama kinachoweza kufanikisha harakati za jeshi la kimataifa linapohitajika.

Marekani ina wajibu wa kuendeleza mtazamo huu, si kwa maneno tu, lakini kwa msaada unaoweza kuimarisha uwezo wa Afrika. Kunapotokea mauaji ya halaiki katika Darfur au mafunzo ya magaidi katika Somalia, haya si matatizo ya Afrika peke yak — ni changamoto ya usalama wa kimataifa, na yanahitaji mwitikio wa kimataifa.   Hii ndiyo sababu tuko tayari kushirikiana kupitia diplomasia,  misaada ya kiufundi, na misaada ya upangaji na uchukuzi, na tutasimamia juhudi za kuwawajibisha wahalifu wa kivita.  Wacha niseme wazi: kamanda yetu ya Afrika hailengi kuweka kidato barani, bali inalenga  kupambana na changamoto kuendeleza usalama wa Amerika, Afrika na dunia

Nilipokuwa Moscow, nilizungumzia haja ya kuwepo kwa mfumo wa kimataifa ambako haki za binadamu duniani zinaheshimiwa, na ukiukaji wa haki hizo unapingwa. Hiyo lazima ijumuishe ahadi ya kuunga mkono wale wanaofumbua migogoro kwa amani, kuwaadhibu na kuwasimamisha wale wasiofanya hivyo, na kuwasaidia wale waliodhurika. Lakini hatimaye, ni demokrasia imara zinazoendelea kama Botswana na Ghana zitakazorudisha nyuma vyanzo vya migogoro, na kuendeleza mipaka ya amani na ustawi.

Kama nilivyosema awali, mustakabali wa Afrika uko juu ya Waafrika wenyewe.

Watu wa Afrika wako tayari kujinyakulia mustakabali huo.  Katika nchi yangu, Wamarekani wa asili ya Kiafrika – wakiwemo wahamiaji wengi mno wa hivi karibuni – wamestawi katika kila sehemu ya jamii.  Tumefanya hivyo licha ya hali ngumu ya zamani, na tumepata nguvu kutoka kwa urithi wetu wa Kiafrika.  Kukiwa na taasisi imara na utashi imara, ninajua Waafrika wanaweza kutimiza ndoto zao mijini Nairobi na Lagos; Cape Town na Kinshasa;  Harare na hapa hapa Accra.

Miaka hamsini na mbili iliyopita, macho ya ulimwengu yalikazia Ghana. Na mhubiri mmoja kijana aliyeitwa Martin Luther King, alisafiri kuja hapa Accra, kushuhudia bendera ya Uingereza ikiteremka na bendera ya Ghana ikipanda juu ya Bunge. Hii ilikuwa kabla ya maandamano mjini Washington au mafanikio ya harakati za kupigania haki za kiraia katika nchi yangu. Dakta King aliulizwa mjini Accra jinsi alivyojisikia kushuhudia kuzaliwa kwa taifa. Na akasema “Inafufua imani yangu katika ushindi wa mwisho wa haki.”

Sasa, ushindi huo lazima upatikane tena na lazima ushindi upatikane nanyi. Na hasa ninawazungumzia vijana. Katika maeneo kama Ghana, vijana ni karibu nusu ya idadi ya watu. Hiki ndicho mnachopaswa kujua: ulimwengu ni kile mnachotaka kiwe.

Mnao uwezo wa kuwawajibisha viongozi wenu, na kujenga asasi zinazowahudumia watu. Mnaweza kuhudumia katika jumuiya zenu, na kutumia nguvu na elimu yenu kuunda utajiri mpya, na kujenga uhusiano mpya na dunia. Mnaweza kuyashinda maradhi, kumaliza migogoro, na kufanya mabadiliko kuanzia chini kwenda juu. Mnaweza kufanya hivyo. Ndiyo mnaweza. Kwa sababu katika wakati huu, historia inasonga mbele.

Lakini vitu hivi vinaweza kufanyika tu kama mtachukua wajibu wa mustakabali wenu.  Kutakuwa na gharama.  Lakini ninaweza kuwaahidi hivi: Marekani itakuwa nanyi.   Kama mshirika wenu.  Kama rafiki.   Nafasi haitatokea mahali pengine popote—lazima itokane na maamuzi mnayoyafanya, vitu mnavyofanya na matumaini mnayoshikilia mioyoni mwenu.

Uhuru ni urithi wenu. Sasa, ni wajibu wenu kujenga juu ya msingi wa uhuru. Na mkifanya hivyo, tutatazama nyuma miaka ya baadaye kutoka leo, kwenye mahali kama Accra, na kusema huu ni wakati ambapo ahadi ilitimia—huu ni wakati ambapo ustawi ulibuniwa; uchungu ulishindwa; na enzi ya maendeleo ilianza. Huu unaweza kuwa wakati ambapo tunashuhudia tena ushindi wa haki.  Asanteni sana.