Kenyans must stop their illusions that President Obama is coming to develop Kenya for us. The onus to develop Kenya will always remain Kenyan. So let Kenyans stop throwing away their dignity in the hope that if they stoop low enough, Obama will bring a share of the American pie to Kenya.
From the first time Obama came to Kenya as a senator, his message to Kenyans was always clear. First, Obama is American, not Kenyan. Second, the interests that preoccupy Obama’s mind are not Kenyan, they are American. Third, Obama is not coming home to Kenya, his home is America. Fourth, Obama does not owe Kenya a living.
In general, however, Obama’s successes even in America are of benefit to Kenyans as part of humanity that is currently dominated by America politically, culturally and economically.
To start with, as Obama built his ascension to Presidency upon the labour of many African American heroes like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the dignity and pride of the entire race of black people enjoyed a boost when Obama attained almost the impossible of winning the Presidency of America, which in good time will open doors of success to millions of marginalised black and Latino children with its example.
In the meantime, Obama has secured his legacy with Obamacare – a public medical insurance system that will protect all Americans from medical neglect and abandonment. Indeed any American enjoying medical care from this health system will have Obama to thank.
Obama has also used his executive authority to pardon and allow millions of African and Latin American immigrants to work and live in America after many years of living underground. Europe, which is facing a flood of African and Middle Eastern migrants, could learn from this gesture of American generosity and help to eradicate global apartheid that preserves wealth for the North and poverty for the South of this world.
Internationally, Obama will be remembered for executing Osama bin Laden and in the same breath, ending his country’s conflict with their neighbour Cuba, a tiny country that for many years overlooked American blockade and limitation of resources to fight alongside Africa for the independence of Angola and Namibia.
Though President Obama will not develop Kenya or Africa for us, with a Marshall Plan, he could help us develop.
Though many people argue that a Marshall Plan for Africa is impossible, if after the Second World War, America could help Europe, Japan and South Korea reconstruct with a Marshall Plan of massive aid, the same can be done for Africa.
We can be wrong, but most advocates of a Marshall Plan for Africa believe that President Obama is the best placed American leader to execute a Marshall Plan for Africa, not as a favour but necessary historical restitution.
Unfortunately, Obama’s two terms are drawing to a close without a Marshall Plan for Africa or its introduction as an American national agenda despite African slave labour forming the bedrock of American development. Certainly lack of a Marshall Plan for Africa will be President Obama’s greatest sin of omission. But again, maybe Fate and history will only use Obama’s Presidency to pave the way for a future Marshall Plan for Africa. And a Marshall Plan would, of course, include America going out of its way to economically liberate its own African-American citizens.
So what open and undisclosed agenda is Obama coming to Kenya for, other than attending the international conference on entrepreneurship?
But if America does not today feel the moral responsibility to do a Marshall Plan for Africa out of its love for Africa, it can do a Marshall Plan for Africa as a solution to American problems in Africa for which I believe President Obama has come to Kenya.
Foremost I believe Obama is coming to offer Kenya assistance in its fight against al Shabaab terrorism on behalf of America and western World. For its assistance to America’s war against terrorism, Kenya should demand adequate help from Obama to repair her economy from blows of al Shabaab terrorism.
Second, I believe Obama is coming to Kenya in an effort to replace China from being the dominant economic partner of Kenya. But is America or her ally Europe willing to bring to Kenya the mega infrastructural projects that China is bringing to Kenya or do business with government that is violating human rights without saying a word?
Obama’s third agenda that is most publicly acknowledged is to promote entrepreneurship. But with what will America boost entrepreneurship in Kenya and Africa without an economic Marshall Plan that she has used elsewhere to promote industrialisation. America’s intention to promote entrepreneurship as an alternative to China’s trade with Kenya and Africa will not amount to much without a Marshall Plan.
Obama’s fourth agenda will be to promote human rights and especially gay rights. But will Western World’s promotion of gay rights materialise given Africa’s cultural conservatism or will America use threats not to give aid to arm-twist Africa into accepting gay rights?
Without a Marshall Plan, there is, however, one invaluable gift that President Obama could give Africa. Africa can develop even without American aid if Obama can launch a robust programme to promote genuinely good leadership in Africa, equate and fight dictatorship as terrorism and promote a social democratic welfare state in Africa that will eliminate poverty by fighting corruption and negative ethnicity.