Every Kenyan will forever remember where he or she was that weekend in 2015 when US President Barack Obama landed in Kenya.
Aside from the spectacle, his wise counsel should remain with us all our lives.
Kenyans should endeavor to address the challenges that he spoke out on – from corruption and tribalism to a flawed counterterrorism strategy, from economic and educational inequality to women’s and other rights.
After bilateral talks with his Sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit cohost President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday at State House, Nairobi, Obama described civil society as those “who stand up for the dignity and rights of all Kenyans”.
It would be a very good thing indeed if the Kenyatta administration could come round to this point of view.
One of Obama’s most important messages for Kenya concerned counterterrorism strategy. He rejected the Jubilee government’s procedure of mass arrests and profiling, saying it alienates entire segments of the population and stokes radicalism and extremism.
The state must never move without actionable evidence presented in court by competent prosecutors and reviewed by incorruptible and non-political judges.
This is the way the US does counterterror – and it works wonders.
Over and above the US offers of support to help Kenya increase transparency and accountability and strengthen anti-corruption institutions, an unimpeachable counterterrorism strategy is at the heart of the prosperity agenda spelt out at GES 2015.
Quote of the day: “Panic makers and cowards must be liquidated on the spot. Not one step backward without orders from higher headquarters!” – Joseph Stalin, premier and dictator of the Soviet Union, issued Order No 227 outlawing cowards, on July 27, 1943, at the height of World War II