There was a time, not so long ago, that it seemed Kenya’s relations with foreign Countries was at its worse jeopardizing business and funding.
Following the 2007/8 post-election violence a decade ago, international figures remained guarded in their relations with our leaders. Those that did visit our shores made it clear that their efforts were aimed at putting Kenya back together.
This intensified around the 2013 election, during which many in the international community remained skeptical of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto candidature due to their impending case at the ICC.
In fact, their opponents alleged that their victory would lead to unprecedented international isolation.
And with this uncertainty came an unprecedented wave of terror in our country, during which we suffered three huge terror attacks, in Westgate, Mpeketoni and Garissa.
Corruption has also been a major factor in the Country with about one third of our national budget said to be lost to graft, and successive governments seemingly unwilling or unable to do anything about it.
Fast forward to 2018, in just two weeks, President Kenyatta has travelled to Washington DC to meet President Trump (only the second African chief of state to make a bilateral visit since 2016), he has hosted British Prime Minister Theresa May (the first visit from a British leader in three decades) and visited Beijing for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit and a meeting with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping.
All this followed a visit to Kenya by former US President Barack Obama in mid-July.
Our president has basically met with the leaders of three of the five biggest economies in the world in an incredibly short space of time. Kenya has become a global player.
This also reveals how under President Uhuru, Kenya has been elevated to the top tier of African countries in the eyes of the international community, alongside Nigeria and South Africa.
President Donald Trump has hosted just two African leaders for bilateral summits – Buhari of Nigeria and our very own. Theresa May visited just three African countries – South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, in her recent trip, while former President Obama visited just two – Kenya and South Africa, in his latest visit.
Despite being the ninth biggest economy in Africa and with the seventh biggest population, Kenya has become an undisputed member of the African Big Three!
I strongly believe that the main reason for this is the vigorous anti-graft drive Uhuru has pursued in his second term.
A commitment to fighting corruption has therefore become a prerequisite for any African leader to be accepted internationally. Just look at how President’s Kagame (Rwanda), Magafuli (Tanzania) and Buhari have been feted in the West for their efforts in fighting graft.
Therefore, having made peace with opposition leader Raila Odinga, President Uhuru’s crusade against corruption was a clear signal to the international community that things are really changing.
There will always be critics and skeptics. There will always be those who don’t believe that change can really happen. And considering Kenya’s chequered history with graft, I don’t blame them. But if the last few weeks can teach us anything, its that Theresa May, Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Xi Jinping are not among them.
The leaders of the world’s biggest economies in a way seem to believe in President Uhuru and his anti-corruption drive.
The views expressed in this article don’t necessarily represent KBC’s opinion