Diplomacy Ignored: Obama’s Comments in Kenya.

While it is convenient and popular to attack new Kenyan Ambassador’s to the US Mr Peter Oginga Ogego and his reaction to Senator’s Obama’s speech in Nairobi, we must understand and appreciate what his comments and this course of action aims to achieve.

To his credit Senator Obama’s speech at the University of Nairobi was a genuine and honest account of his understanding of Kenya and what ails our country.

His emphasis on corruption as a major problem was not in essence an attack on the government but rather a rallying cry to Kenyans and Africans of all walks to unite and fight corruption and bad governance both of which are major contributing factors to the poverty that the Senator observed during his visit in Africa.

What Senator Obama did not understand or accept is how highly regarded he is in Kenya and the wrath that he put on the Kenyan government even though that might not have been his intention. He ignored the fact that Kenya is still a very polarized country heading to what is shaping up to be a hotly contested general election.

And while his comments should have been taken as rallying points for the fight against corruption they have instead been interpreted and will be used by the opposition as a stamp of Senator Obama disapproval with the government.

In his letter to Senator Barrack Obama, a letter which was also copied to the US State Department, Ambassador Ogego attacks Obama’s decision “to publicly attack the democratically elected Government of Kenya, in total disregard for the requisite protocol and acceptable methods to address the issues you raised”.

And while the letter in itself ignored important protocols in addressing the issue and the Senator, referring to his comments as “cheap publicity and inconsequential populism” it did point to a legitimate concern by the Kenyan government.

Given the accord that the Kenyan government gave Senator Obama, he should have judged better the consequences of his speech. As an official visitor of the government and with proper channels of communication provided for him, he should have exploited any other means to make his points instead of providing the opposition with ammunition to attack the government.

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