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Kenya, unpatriotic Kenyans.

Why does Kenya have so much faith in foreign experts?

Publication Date: 3/22/2008

An unpatriotic culture is getting uncritical acclaim and acceptance. Columnist Donald B. Kipkorir’s recent suggestion that the British recolonise us was patriotically attacked from many quarters.

What is lacking is a continued critique of such an opinion.

To call for recolonisation, which for all practical purposes, already exists, is to be short on history and glorify the evils of colonisation and imperialism, the latter now rechristened globalisation.

The fact that the international community is said to have warned President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga to share power, lest there be no power to share, does not mean that Kenyans have accepted to be recolonised.

It is on the basis of national pride that we must criticise the culture that Kenyans cannot solve their internal problems without external support and intervention.

The commission set up to investigate the presidential election dispute is chaired by a South African and has members from Argentina, Tanzania and Kenya appointed by the two key members of the grand coalition — PNU and ODM.

Why have the other political parties been excluded from participation? And is the presidential election crisis the concern of only the two parties?

Lobby groups and the private sector are also concerned about the crisis, so who decided that the excluded interested parties do not need to be represented, and on what grounds?

It is difficult to accept that a Kenyan cannot chair the commission. Are we saying that Kenyans are non-partisan and not perceived to be disciples of various political parties? Are we saying that Kenya does not have independent people who can hold brief for the nation in such matters?  Are Kenyans who readily agree to serve under foreign experts asking themselves if they are not being humiliated as nationals?

One wonders why a South African was picked to chair the inquiry and not say, an expert from Tanzania.  Is the East African Community not recognised enough to be considered first when picking experts to help Kenya to solve its problems?

IT IS EXPECTED THAT THE TRUTH,  justice and reconciliation commission will comprise seven experts, three of them foreigners.

Parliament must question the rationale of including foreigners. Why not just one foreigner, that is if he or she must be there? If parties, in particular PNU and ODM, are allowed to choose the commissioners, where will national impartiality come from?

The parties are bound to pick people they can control and who will do their bidding. If we are really serious about the commission’s composition, we must insist that the party hawks be excluded.  People holding important posts in the parties would feature prominently in the discussions.

Unless the whole idea is to appoint people whose task is to protect the untouchables and use the commission as a cover-up of crimes committed against Kenyans, then we need to debate the membership.

It is naïve to see foreigners as impartial and independent; they, too, have their own interests.

Kenya once debated the issue of appointing foreigners when Kenyanising the Judiciary was a burning issue.

We then saw foreign judges who, upon appointment, supported definite local, regional and global political interests in their respective mandates.  Are we now going to say we need foreign judges, cabinet ministers and civil servants?

At least, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank waxed progressive when they assembled the so-called civil service dream team in Kenya some years ago.

It can also be argued that foreign multinationals have more faith in Kenyans’ talents than Kenyan leaders by hiring Kenyans. After all, Kenyans are doing excellent work in many foreign countries.

Why then are they ignored by Kenyan leaders when it comes to national issues of great importance?

The joke doing the rounds in the country that Kenyans want a Luo president in the US and not a Luo president in Kenya has to be taken seriously in this regard. We must start glorifying our own national expertise.

We must recall with shame how our political leaders treated Prof Yash Pal Ghai when he led the constitutional reform effort.

We must stop taking Matthew 13: 57 literally, that “a prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house.”

Our own experts must be recognised and respected by us. Where is our national pride?

Write to the author

About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.



  1. Pingback: Kenya, unpatriotic Kenyans. - March 22, 2008

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