Thursday, August 7, 2014

IT WAS A WEEK WHEN UHURU TRAVELLED AND KENYANS HAD A GOOD TIME ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA

President Uhuru Kenyatta ends his five-day visit to the United States this weekend and returns home with a bag full of goodies, plenty of goodwill and lots of lessons learnt from a series of consultative meetings with American leaders over a number of critical issues bearing on Kenya.

Only days ago, relations between Kenya and the United States seemed frosty, thanks to a conflation of highly contentious issues ranging from America's perceived reluctance to appreciate Uhuru's win, to ICC indictments, to what many saw as Kenya cold-shouldering the US in favour of China.

All this explained President Kenyatta's initial procrastination over his participation in the US-Africa Forum in Washington DC. He can now look back and smile that his decision to join other African leaders in the American capital was one of the most important moves in his presidency.

While in the United States, Kenyatta was able to rekindle interest in Kenya not only amongst investors but also amongst Americans in general. After all, not many Americans had heard or seen the new Kenyan leader before the visit. Through this short stay and very successful media appearances, the American people are in a better position now to appreciate Kenya. The good news is that, every time Kenyatta got an opportunity to speak, he advanced the country's position eloquently, and effectively.

The visit also gave the President and his officials an opportunity to review and assess issues of security, health, trade, and investment, among others, with policy makers of the world's most powerful nation; and also hear hard truths on such sensitive subjects in Africa as corruption, human rights, the rule of law and women empowerment. The Americans did not mince words and called for sweeping reforms by governments.

Meanwhile, as the meetings were ongoing in Washington DC, a vicious propaganda war was raging in the social media between supporters of Jubilee and those of the opposition CORD. While government publicists tried to paint Kenyatta's every move as positive, opposition spin doctors went full throttle to rubbish everything.  Ridiculous photo shops were added for effect. It was a hilarious interchange but one that took Kenyans away from positive matters of nation building.

In conclusion, I hope the President is returning home with fresh ideas on how to tackle insecurity, corruption, international money-laundering, food security and drug trafficking, matters were adequately discussed during the various meetings at the Summit.

And that is my say.