Nearly four years after Kenya's first multiparty elections since the 1960s,
World Statesman talks to veteran leader Daniel arap Moi about the prospects for
Do you support the restoration
of the East African Community with Uganda and
Yes. I believe that the destinies of our three countries are strong and closely
linked. We share a common history, a common culture and indeed our aspirations
are in common. We, the people of East Africa, are one. The East African people
have been looking forward to an opportunity to be as they were before the
collapse of the first EAC. In particular, our people want to be able to move
freely across national borders.
Furthermore, the emergence of global trading blocs (the European Union, NAFTA and
ASEAN, for example) has compelled us to re-examine the issue of regional
integration as a means towards creating a larger market and a stronger
negotiating basis for the prosperity of our region.
The original EAC was short-lived. Do you believe that the East African
political and economic environment this time round gives the 'second' EAC a
greater chance of success?
Yes. The present EAC charter emphasises the role of the private sector in its
operations and discourages major government involvement, thereby reducing the
likelihood of adverse political interference. The decision-making mechanism has
been simplified and vested in a committee of ministers rather than involving the
Past lessons have been learnt, and the ideological differences which contributed
to the collapse of the first EAC do not exist today. There is now a real
political commitment to avoid past mistakes and to create the modalities required
to realise the aspirations of our people.
What would be the economic benefits to
Kenya of a re-established EAC?
We in Kenya have recently undertaken far-reaching economic reforms. The combined
population and resources of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania offer a more attractive
environment for trade, investment, employment and faster economic growth.
Moreover, sharing of information will lead to improved regional security, weather
forecasting, research, disease control and environmental protection.
If all the above are realised, I would expect closer political ties in the future
- possibly a Federation of our three states.
Kenya has had a sometimes difficult relationship with foreign donors. How do
you assess current relations?
Kenya is currently enjoying excellent relations with its donors. The growth in
donor confidence is evidenced by their agreement in April this year at the IMF
Board in Paris to proceed with the IMF Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility
and related funding. The subsequent three-day official visit by Michael
Camdessus, the IMF managing-director, further attests to the confidence of the
Bretton Woods organisations in Kenya's commitment to economic reform.
How much of a threat does opposition politician Richard Leakey pose to your
Minimal if any. One area of threat is racialism. He seems to have the support of
the international media. Racial biases brought into play by the international
media could in some ways adversely affect our economy. Richard Leakey is a 'paper
tiger' creation of the media and does not have much local support, even from
fellow whites. He is being used by other members of the opposition only as a
fund-raiser for their cause.
Ethnic violence has been an issue in the Rift Valley. Do you see a resolution
to this problem in the near future?
Ethnic violence in Rift Valley was ignited by opposition politicians in an effort
to destabilise the strong support enjoyed by KANU there before the 1992
elections. The clashes were also used by the opposition to create a case of human
rights violations by the KANU government and thereby quickly raise funds
internationally for their own ends. Since the last general elections, the problem
has fizzled out and the euphoria which characterised the political climate in the
run-up to those elections no longer exists. The issue of ethnic violence is
unlikely to recur as people are now more aware of those dirty opposition election
Finally, where do you see Kenya at the turn of the century?
I see Kenya as a bustling and vibrant economy taking its rightful place amongst
the newly industrialised countries. Indeed, the current economic reforms have put
Kenya on a brighter - and irreversible - path to sustainable growth that has
already led to single-digit inflation rates and significant growth (set for 8-10
per cent with GDP per capita at US$1,100). Most of this is generated by the
manufacturing and industrial sectors. By the turn of the century, the economy
should be able to rely more and more on an efficient private sector that is
producing quality goods for the local and international markets, with a reduced
dependence on foreign aid.
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