Clinton: US Wants Kenya to Have Leadership Role in 21st Century

NAIROBI (RPRN) 8/6/2009–U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States wants “Kenya to have a leadership role in the 21st century,” but she stressed it was up to Kenya to make it happen. Clinton spoke during a town hall meeting in Nairobi, on the second day of a seven-nation tour of Africa. She echoed remarks made by U.S. President Barack Obama during his July trip to Ghana, saying “the future of Kenya up to Kenya.”

Earlier Thursday, Clinton laid a wreath at a Nairobi memorial to the victims of the 1998 al-Qaida-linked embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

A day before the 11th anniversary of the bombings, Clinton said it was a moment to “renew our resolve” and ensure “more innocent lives” are not lost to future attacks.

Clinton is scheduled to meet in Nairobi with Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed later in the day. Clinton says she expects to discuss steps the international community can take to support the Somali leader’s efforts to stabilize his government.

On Tuesday, Mr. Sharif told reporters he considers the meeting with Clinton a “great opportunity.”  He said it signals how the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is willing to back Somalia, which has endured 18 years of unrest.

Clinton met Wednesday with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and urged them to follow through with promised reforms and prosecute those responsible for last year’s post-election violence.

She said the absence of strong, democratic institutions in Kenya has permitted “corruption, impunity, politically motivated violence, human rights abuses and a lack of respect for the rule of law.”

Kenya is the first stop of Clinton’s African tour that will also take her to South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.