Friday, August 7, 2009
You could learn a lot from a politician
Did it strike anybody else as odd to hear U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lecture the Kenyan government about corruption yesterday during a visit to Nairobi? Clinton, who met Wednesday with government leaders and attended the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act conference, told a town hall meeting at the University of Nairobi that corruption in Kenya's government was preventing the country from developing economically. "The fact is Kenya has not fulfilled its economic promise," she said, according to the Cable News Network (CNN). "I believe it has not realized . . . a functioning democracy." Clinton acknowledged her message was "harsh," but how could it not be after the country's violence-marred 2007 presidential election. President Mwai Kibacki claimed re-election after a 2008 runoff against opposition leader Raila Odinga, now the country's prime minister, who was forced to flee the country during the campaign because of attacks against him and his supporters. The prime minister post was created for Odinga to settle the dispute, but not before hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and 1,300 killed in post-election violence forces. Clinton said the message about corruption was coming from U.S. President Barack Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, CNN said. Yet true as her words might have been, it still was weird to hear them from Clinton, whose husband, Bill, was impeached in 1998 over a White House sex scandal. Only the second U.S. president ever impeached, Bill Clinton was tried in the U.S. Senate but survived the largely partisan vote to remove him from office and completed his second term in office. Maybe self-righteousness just goes with holding high office. Of course, it's not nearly as ridiculous as hearing ex-President George W. Bush lecture other countries about free elections.