August 4, 2015
by Moses Onyango
Republished from The IPI Global Observatory
United States President Barack Obama’s July visit to his father’s ancestral home elicited a lot of hope for a country working to maintain its reputation as an island of peace in a region of turmoil. As Obama noted, Kenya has made tremendous progress economically and in the political realm; its economy is growing very fast, and its democratization process is on the right track. Kenya has one of the strongest constitutions in the region, promulgated in 2010, in which popular sovereignty, structures and powers of government, civil society, and a bill of rights are well defined.
However, the current government has made several attempts to reverse the many democratic gains that ordinary Kenyans have made to secure their rights within the 2010 constitution, under the pretext of fighting violent extremism and terrorism. Obama’s spotlight on Kenya therefore offers a tremendous opportunity to tackle the security challenges without compromising the freedom of its people.