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Is Obama Keen on Relations with Barons of Kenya or With the People?

Barack Obama is visiting Kenya and Ethiopia when the people of Eastern Africa are desperate for peace. Last week Wednesday July 15, top Kenyan athletes, including former world marathon record holders, set off on a 22-day “Walk for Peace” against ethnic violence. The 836-kilometer (520-mile) walk is organized by a former Commonwealth marathon champion. This walk for peace is a striking example of the initiatives being undertaken in a country where the people want an end to all forms of violence. As President Barack Obama heads to Kenya to participate in the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi this week, the peoples of Kenya are excited and there is pride that the President of the USA will be visiting Kenya. Obama will be meeting with entrepreneurs but this should be an occasion where the government of the USA should seek to work with the peoples of Kenya and Somalia who want peace. This visit should be an occasion to spell out the process of demilitarizing the relations between the peoples of East Africa and the United States.

Kenya inherited the massive investment in the militarization of the Horn of Africa from the era of anti-communism and this militaristic link to the West was deepened during the so called War on Terror. This Global War on Terror has now backfired against the peoples and the insecurity generated within Kenya and East Africa reinforce the influence of the US military when Barack Obama and his Administration want to focus on “Doing Business with Africa.” In 2014, the Obama Administration with much fanfare called the first major US Africa summit but the present Washington sequestered bureaucracy has not worked to turn the page with the new engagement with African peoples. There have been no resources from Congress to support the much touted Power Africa.

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