Strengthening U.S. Ties With Kenya

Report Africa

Strengthening U.S. Ties With Kenya

April 24, 1990 25 min read Download Report
Michael Johns
Former Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation
Michael Johns is a former policy analyst for African and Third World Affairs at The Heritage Foundation.

(Archived document, may contain errors)

766 April 24,1990 INTRODUCIION Among the many dividends of communism's collapse in Eastern Europe is the emergence of a new-found respect in Africa for the United States. From Pretoria, South Africa, to Lagos, Nigeria, African governments are seeking stronger relations with what they perceive to be the world's sole surviving superpower. Yet, at the very moment that Washington could begin devising a creative U.S. policy for Africa, some members of Congress are attacking those African nations that could anchor expanded American engag e ment in Africa In particular jeopardy is Washington's relationship with one of America's strongest African allies, Kenya. Some members of Congress want to suspend economic and military assistance to Kenya due to alleged human rights viola tions by the Ken y an government Supporting U.S. Interests. Since achieving independence from Britain in 1963, Kenya has been one of the few African nations to pursue a pro-Westem political course. In contrast to most African governments, Kenya has per mitted and even welco m ed American military access to its naval and air bases. U.S. naval-foFces dock-adBGel-at Mombasa, Kenya's principal seaport, located on Kenya's southeastern Indian Ocean coast. More impor tant, American use of Mombasa enables the U.S. to project air and n aval power in the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf in the event of emergencies or threats to American security interests in these regions.

Kenya supports American political interests in Africa as well. With Washington's endorsement, Kenyan Pres ident Daniel arap Moi says he wants to mediate settlements to long-standing civil wars in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sudan In Sudan, Moi cooperates with Washington's famine relief efforts, which have saved tens of thousands of Sudanese from starvation. Keny a has been the largest provider of famine relief supplies to Sudan.

Despite this, Representative Howard Wolpe, the Michigan Democrat, is leading the attack against Kenya.Though Wolpe mutes his criticism of some of Africas most egregious human rights violat ors, like Ethiopias Mengistu Haile Mariam he has lashed out at Kenya, and threatened to seek the ter mination of U.S. military and economic assistance unless human rights in Kenya are improved prosperous Kenya, the Bush Administration and Congress should b e consis tent in using human rights as a determinant of American policy.The U.S surely cannot ignore violations by communist regimes like those in Ethiopia and Angola while criticizing governments like Mois that not only are friendly to the U.S but which are less repressive than other nations in Africa.

Seeking Stronger Ties. More important, besides the value of preserving U.S.-Kenyan strategic and political cooperation, healthy relations with Kenya will allow Washington to nudge Moi toward a better human rights record.The U.S. thus should seek an even stronger U.S.-Kenyan relationship in which the U.S. can play a constructive role in encouraging political pluralism, a free market economy, and respect for human rights and liberties, while continuing to ben e fit from U.S.-Kenyan strategic cooperation To protect strong U.S.-Kenyan relations and help foster a free and To achieve these objectives, the Bush Administration should Maintain U.S. access to the Kenyan air and naval facility at Mom Invite Kenyan Presid e nt Daniel arap Moi to visit Washington to re basa emphasize the importance of U.S.-Kenyan relations. Bush and Moi should discuss increased political, strategic, and trade cooperation between Washington and Nairobi, and Mois role as a peacemaker in Africa E ncourage Kenya to initiate free market reforms, such as privatizing state enterprises and eliminating price and marketing controls. Despite enormous potential, the Kenyan economy is seriously hampered by too much government involvement Assist financially, through the National Endowment for Democracy NED those-Kenyan-organizations that support democraticf free market values Continue military aid, currently $15 million per year, to Kenya to maintain U.S. air and naval access to Kenyan military facilities and assist Kenya in defending itself from external aggression. Kenya borders heavily armed nations such as Ethiopia and Uganda, and U.S. security assistance is important for Kenyas defense Organize a U.S.-Kenyan business council to identi0 and resolve problem s of U.S. investors in Kenya, including burdensome bureaucratic procedures and corruption 2 FROM COLONIALISM TO MOI Before winning independence in 1963, Kenya was a British colony. Britain obtained control over Kenya at the 1885 Berlin Conference, where th e major European powers divided East Africa into spheres of influence.

Britain declared Kenya a British Protectorate in 1895, and Kenya was made an official colony in 1920 rule reached a high point when members of Kenyas Kikuyu tribe launched the Mau Mau rebellion against the British in October 19

52. Mau Mau was a secret organization of Kikuyus who terrorized the British, and often killed other Kikuyus who refused to take an oath swearing not to cooperate with the British Britis h security forces aiding Kenyan police brought the insur rection to an end in 1956, but only after some 13,500 Kenyans were killed. Tens of thousands of suspected and known Mau Mau were detained by the British leaders of the Kenya African Union (KAU an an ti-colonial nationalist party, were arrested and accused of organizing the rebellion.

Prompted in part by the Mau Mau rebellion, London in 1955 began taking steps toward grant ing Kenyaindependence A- ban on Kenyan political parties was partially lifted th at year, ena bling local level political associa tions to organize freely As political activity in Kenya increased, debate intensified among Kenyans over how politi cal power should be distributed in an independent Kenya.

Kenyas two major political par Kenyan opposition to colonial 3 ties -the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) and the Kenya African National Union KANU differed strongly on how to share political power.

Since KADU drew its support from a coalition of Kenyas smaller tribes, it advocated a decentralized or federal constitution to prevent political domina tion by Kenyas largest tribe, the Kikuyu. KANU, by contrast, advocated a centralized system of government KANU was led by the charismatic Jomo Kenyatta, who was previously impriso! t he-Bgtish .as an organizer of the Mau Mau rebellion and who became the first black African insurgent to be known world-wide ber 12,19

63. At first it appeared that Kenya would become a federal state similar to that advocated by KADU. Kenyas first independe nt constitution finalized by KADU and KANU in London in September-1963, gave local governments considerable political autonomy. But in August 1964, Kenyatta announced his intention to make Kenya a centralized republic, abolishing regional autonomy and cre a ting a strong presidency. The proposal was heated ly debated, but when the proposal was voted upon in November 1964, KADU was unable to prevent its passage. Recognizing that the measure was likely to pass, KADU announced that it was dissolving its party a n d merging with KANU On the first anniversary of independence, Kenya was proclaimed a republic. Kenyatta was elected Kenyas president, the first of only two presi dents to rule Kenya. Campaigns for Kenyas parliament have been contested by a multiplicity of KANU candidates, and debate within the party has been uncharacteristically wide for a one-party state. Nonetheless, the centraliza tion of political power within KANU has spawned limited political freedom in Kenya with opposing political parties banned. T h e Kenya Peoples Union KPU), a small political party, was formed in 1966, but the party was banned officially bythe government in 1969 Centralized Republic. Britain granted Kenya full independence on Decem When Kenyatta died on August 22,1978, Vice Preside n t Daniel arap Moi assumed the presidency, in accordance with the countrys constitution. As Kenyatta before him, Moi also serves as president of KANU, which remains Kenyas only legal political party. Unlike Kenyatta, Moi is not a Kikuyu, but comes from the Kalenjin tribe which, at 11 percent of Kenyaspopulation; is about half the size of the Kikuyus. Under Mois leadership, the ethnic base of Kenyas-government has been broadenedtg include-such smaller Kenyan eth nic groups as the Luo and Kamba. Those of Soma l i origin are dso better rep resented MODERN KENYA Kenya is located on Africas east coast, bordering the Indian Ocean to its east and five African countries Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda to the north, west, and south tive prosperity in a r e gion characterized by political chaos, successive coups Since independence in 1963, Kenya has been an island of stability and rela I 4 detat, violence, and poverty. Kenyas neighbors include some of the worlds most egregious human rights violators such as Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan.

Four of Kenyas neighbors Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda are embroiled in devastating civil wars. And in each of Kenyas neighbors, hunger and starvation are commonplace Human Rights Improvements. Though Moi has kept his n ation at peace Kenyas seven major ethnic groups the Kalenjin, Kamba, Kikuyu, Kisii Luhya, Luo, and Meru -remain bitter rivals. As such, the potential for violence is a major Kenyan concern. Kenyas human rights climate, though often criticized by Western l i berals, is better than such East African neigh bors as Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan. According to the U.S. Department of State, there were no political murders in Kenya last year, no reports of disap pearances, and Kenyans were free to engage in private e c onomic activity and own property without government interference.* Additionally, last June Moi freed all political prisoners detained without trial or charge? Living standards also are higher in Kenya than in other black African nations. The best baromete r of this may be life expectancy In Kenya it is 58 years, the highest of any East African nation.This compares with 53 years inTanzania 49 years in Burundi and in Rwanda, 48 years in Uganda, 47 years in Ethiopia and 47 years in Somalia4 (U.S. life expectan c y is 75 years; Egyptian is 61 Kenya also has fared better economically than its neighbors. Though the Kenyan economy has been hampered by stifling regulations such as govern ment control of major financial institutions and price.controls on many agricultu ral and industrial products and by corruption in many business sec- tors, Kenyas per capita gross national product is the largest in East Africa.

For 1987 it was $330, compared with $300 for Rwanda 290 for Somalia 260 for yganda 250 for Burundi 180 for Tan zania, and $130 for Ethiopia. Kenya has the most developed roads in the region, and it is the only East African nation with a notable industrial capability, producing beverages, tobacco, textiles, cement, metals, and other products. The Kenyan 1 For a ful l er discussion of human rights and political conditions in the Horn of Africa,.see.Michael Johns Preserving American Security Ties to Somalia, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 745, December 26 1989; Michael Johns, A Cautious Welcome for Sudans New Gove r nment, Heritage Foundation Executive Ethiopia, Heritage Foundation Bacmunder No. 692, February 23,1989 2 U.S. Department of State, Counby Reports on Human Rights for-1989: Kenya,-pp. 159-160 3 Kenya Orders Detainees Freed, The Washington Post, June 8,1989 , p. A28 4 The World Bank, World Development Report 1989: Financial Systems and World Development Indicators June 1989, Table 1 (Basic indicators), p. 164 5 The World Bank, World Tables (Baltimore: The Johns Hopb Un;VerS;ty Press, 1989 country tables Memor andum Nor245,-Jdy-28,-1989; and Michael Johns,-!A U.S. Strategy to Foster Human Rights in 5 industrial sector is growing over 12 percent each year. Kenya also is, by far, the largest exporter of goods in East Africa.

Nonetheless, Kenya is one of only 42 co untries listed by the World Ba&p low income economies. Agriculture is the base of the Kenyan economy, ac counting for approximately 30 percent of gross domestic product and engaging over 75 percent of the population, and earning about 66 percent f Kenyas f oreign exchange. In recent years tourism has sur passed coffee and tea as Kenyas main foreign revenue earner as commodity prices for these agricultural products have fal len. Last years earnings on tourism are estimated to have been 340 million, with over 700,000 tourists visiting Kenya.

Unlike Angola, Nigeria, Zaire and other African countries that have natural resources like coal copper, diamonds, and oil Kenya can boast no significant natural resources 9 8 AMERICA AND KENYA Kenyas beauty and splendor ar e well known to Americans about 78,000 of them visit Kenya each-year,Moreover,-some--l20 U.S. firms have subsidiaries, af filiates, or branch offices in Kenya, making the country 6 World Development Report 1989, op. cit.,Table 1 (Basic indicators p. 164 7 U.S. Department of Commerce, Foeign Economic Tends and Their Implications for the United States prepared by the American Embassy, Nairobi March 1990, p 8 8 Roger Throw, Capital Flight Strains Kenyan Economy, Wall SbLeet Journal, August 17,1989 6 among the most attractive African nations for U.S. investment. American firms in Kenya include Cheesbrough-Ponds Incorporated, Delmonte General Motors Corporation, and Mobil Oil Corporation. Kenya is Africas fastest growing commercial market for U.S. goods. U.S. ex p orts to Kenya last year totalled $133 million and included fertilizers, locomotives, industrial and agricultural chemicals, computers, and other products This makes Kenya the third.largest market in Sub:S-aharan Africa. for U.S, goods. after South Africa and Nigeria. Imports from Kenya were 68.3 million, and included coffee tea, and insecticides.

Kenya is important strategically to the U.S. Access to Kenyan air and seaports facilitates American capability to project air and naval power in the Indian Ocean to ensure the free flow of international commerce and to respond to any crisis or security threat, such as terrorism, in the region Important Port. As a result of these threats, the U.S. signed a military agreement with Kenya in April 1980 which permits t h e U.S. Navy to use Mombasa as a liberty port for refueling and docking. Also under the 1980 agreement, the U.S. Navy and Air Force can use Kenyan air facilities if air forces are needed to counteract aggression in the region. The agreement stipulates that either party can renegotiate its terms this year was used extensively for docking and refueling of American warships The U.S. has not used Mombasa for any other major military operations in the past decade, and the facility is considered less important fo r American security interests than the naval and air base in Berbera, Somalia, along Somalias northern coast. Nonetheless, Mombasa continues to play a valuable role as a potential launching point should American forces need to counter terrorism or foreign a gression in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, or Sub Saharan Africa. These are important, though unstable, regions for American security interests. Because an estimated 500,000 barrels of crude oil pass through the region every day, much of which is destine d for the U.S and be cause the region contains such unpredictable states as Ethiopia and Iran, the U.S. needs to maintain its access to Mombasa.

Mombasas importance is magnified further in light of mounting political instability in Somalia. Mohammed Siad B arre, Somalias leader, disbanded his cabinet this January in a last ditch effort to save his fledgling regime. Anti months, and political opposition to Siad has reached an all-time high. Should Siad fall, the U.S. stands to potentially lose its right to o p erate from Berbera and Mogadishu, Somalias two military bases, leaving Mombasa as the only remaining military facility in the region to which the U.S. has access During American naval patrols in the Persian Gulf in the 1980s, Mombasa SiIdreEels have mount e d-military offensives-with growing-success-in-recent 9 9 For a Mer discussion of the importance of Somalias military facilities for US. strategic interests in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, see Johns, Preserving American Security Ties to Somalia, op. cit 7 KENYAS IMPORTANCE TO EAST AFRICA Because of its economic and political stability, Kenya has the potential of becoming an influential economic and political example of success for East Africa if Kenya achieves steady economic growth and greater p olitical liberty.

Because Nairobi serves as the commercial center for East Africa, and be cause SMombasa is the central port of the region,-Kenya is well positioned for becoming the hub of regional economic growth.

Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and other neighbors that trade with Kenya could follow Kenya down the road of free market and democratic reform, opening the door potentially for peace and greater prosperity in em battled East Africa. A prerequisite of su c h regional influence already exists in West Africa, where Nigerias democratic, free market reforms are influencing the attitudes of West Africans. In Nigerias western neighbor, Benin, for in stance, calls for democratic change led to the toppling this mon th of Benins dictator Mathieu Kerekou. In the West African nation of Ivory Coast, too calls are now intensifying for multi-party democracy. If Kenya is successful, it could have a similar impact on Somalia, Tanzania, or even Marxist-controlled Ethiopia.

KE NYAS FIVE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES Kenya faces five serious economic challenges is to. graduate froml the 1) Promoting economic growth The Kenyan economy grew 5.2 percent in 1988.12 These gains to some de World Banks list of low income economies. These a r e gree are offset by Kenyas rapidly growing population, estimated at 4.1.per 10 This December, 20,000 protesters in Cotonou, Benin, mostly students, rallied against Kerekous authoritarian reign. Crowds shouted Kerekou out! and banners read Kerekou resign. Power to the people. An additional 5,OOO people joined the protests in Porto Novo, Benins capital.This month, after weeks of pressure for democratic change, Kerekou was ousted. 20,OOO in BeninTell Leader to Resigp Now, New York Times, December 13,19

89. F or a fuller discussion of Nigerias importance to West Africa, see Michael Johns, A U.S. Policy for Nigeria: Supporting Political and Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation Buckyounder 11 In its 1989 development report, the World Bank defrnes a low income e c onomy as a country with a gross national product per capita under $450 a year. Kenyas GNP per capita, in 1987, was $330, making it the 26th poorest nation in the world. World Development Report 1989, op. tit p. 164 12 Gross domestic product (GDP) figure f o r 1988, the most recent statistic available. Foreiign Economic Trends and Their Implications for the United States op. cit, p. 4 No. 730; O~tober-l3~1989~pp.-6-7 8 cent a year and among the worlds highest. A Kenyan woman gives birth on average to 6.7 chil d ren in her lifetime. Employment grew by 3.5 percent in 1987, but new workers entering the work force grew by 4.5 percent.3 Result Kenya has an urban underemployment rate of 25 percent to 35 percent.14 The population crisis is magnified further by illegal immigration into Kenya mostly from neighboring Somalia, where thousands of refugees are fleeing Somalias cjvil war. Should populati.og gro- rates qmmue at current levels, the Kenyan population will double in seventeen years.

A growing population, of course can be an economic asset. It is an economic liability only when a countrys economic policies erect obstacles to individual initiative and entrepreneurism, to investment and savings, and to foreign trade.

Accelerated Kenyan economic growth will not necess arily require greater levels of foreign aid from the West. Aid was poured into Kenya during the 1980s with no im provements in Kenyas economic growth. Kenyas average annual economic growth rate was 1.3 per cent between 1973 and 19

80. But from 1980 until 1987 the Kenyan economy, adjusted for population growth, declined 0.9 percent.15 Throughout this time of economic decline, from 1981 to 1987, Kenya received 3.2 billion in foreign development assistance, primarily from the European Community, Italy, West G ermany, and the U.S Requirements for Growth. Instead of sending additional foreign aid to Kenya, Washington and Nairobi must re-evaluate many of Kenyas economic policies. Growth will require, among other things, Kenya to eliminate price controls and marke ting boards, which discourage farmers from producing and privatize state-controlled enterprises that are operating inefficiently.

Another challenge is for Kenya to promote consistent economic growth in sectors other than agriculture. Because the Kenyan eco nomy is so dependent on coffee-and-tea-production,-the-economy faces-major-setbacks-when coffee or tea prices fall or when weather conditions reduce harvests of these goods.

By continuing efforts to expand industrial production, which currently ac 13 hid, p.6 14 Underemployment is defined as those individuals working less than full time who desire to and are capable of working full time l5 Average gross national product (GNP 1980-1987.The World Bank, Sub-Suhwun Aficc From Crisis to Smtuinuble Growth, Nove m ber 1989,Table 1 (Basic indicators), p. 221 9 counts for 13.4 percent of gross domestic product, Kenya can reduce its de pendence on coffee and tea and protect itself from economic catastrophe when the production or sale of agricultural goods falls short of expectations A final challenge is reworking the Kenyan tax code to encourage economic growth. Currently, the top ma

al tax rate of 65 percent is levied against all Kenyans with incomes of over $7

30. This excessive rate removes the incentive for productive economic activity because Kenyans are permitted to keep the equivalent of only 35 cents of every dollar earned over $7

30. A new Kenyan tax code should provide greater encouragement for economic production by lowering the marginal rate 2) Attracting foreign investment Because its economic climate is more hospitable than that of most other African countries, Kenya has been attracting investors from Britain, Canada and West Germany. American firms investing in Kenya include Cheesbrough Ponds Incorporat e d, Delmonte, General Motors Corporation, and Mobil Oil Corporation. Total foreign investment in Kenya amounts to 1.06 billion. This figure surely would grow were Kenya to ease such burdensome foreign invest ment regulations as price controls, import licen s es, and foreign exchange manipulation. Some progress towards this is being made. In March 1989, for example, Kenya simplified its import licensing procedure for foreign inves tors. Under the previous system, investors often would wait months before learni ng whether their imports had been approved. Such extraordinary delays prompted many American firms to pull out ofICenyasThe new licensing process can usually be completed in two weeks.

Another hurdle to greater foreign investment is bureaucratic barriers t o dividend repatriation. Some investors have reported waiting up to fifteen months for approval to repatriate dividends, and the problem features prominently among the complaints of businesses that have pulled out of Kenya.16 I 3) Eliminating corruption C o rruption is a serious problem for domestic and foreign investors. Says a veteran Kenyan businessman: It has gotten so that bribe some one to find a file and then bribe someone to move the file.17 Such corrup tion chases capital abroad.The Worl d Bank reports that cumulative capital fligh-t -f*m-Ki?iijGiS among -Africas-highest, following -only -Liberia,-Nigeria and South Africa. Also, many Western investors are taking their business else where. Ten years ago, Japan, one of the worlds largest inv e stors in Africa had thirteen companies doing business in Kenya.Today, only two remain 16 Thurow, op. cit 17 Bid 10 Ending Kenyas serious corruption problem may prove to be the most ar duous economic and political challenge. Getting Moi to investigate and a p prehend corrupt bureaucrats, one Western diplomat contends will be a slow, tough process, and a lot of political oxen will get gored in the process including some very high up.18 Increasingly, Moi is lashing out rhetorically against corruption, calling it unpatriotic behavior and pledging that those guilty of corruption will be taken t~-

jk Buts,the.first step to closing down corruption is for Moi to relinquish control over the economy, which he has not yet fully done 4) Privatizing state-owned enterpris es Moi nationalized five ailing banks in February.This bucks the healthy trend of other African governments, like Nigeria and Togo, to.privatize state owned enterprises. Even radicals like Namibias Sam Nujoma and the African National Congresss Joe Slovo a re acknowledging the commercial failure of state-owned enterprises.

When enterprises are owned by government, there exists no incentive for these enterprises to operate efficiently and to respond to market demands As a result, most of Kenyas 23 0 state-owned enterprises have been commer cial failures. This drains Kenyas treasury, where public-sector borrokng com prises 40 percent of total domestic credit.

The World Bank this February endorsed Kenyas decision to nationalize the banks. A World Bank affiliate, the International-Development Associa tion, has made a 25 million loan to Kenyas central bank, which will control the nationalized banks.

Bank argued in its World Development Report last year.m It said that banking accountability is a key component to Third World economic development.

When banks are owned by governments, there is little incentive for bankers to direct funds to productive enterprises. The World Bank states in its World Development Report 1989 report: Wide-ranging intervention in the financial sector must gradually give way to systems that provide services in response to market signals. This, in turn, calls for more competition 31 This is a serious mistake by the World Bank and contradicts what the World 5) Eliminating price co n trols and market regulations Price and market controls also retard.econon& growth. Pdces are set by marketing boards in most of the government-controlled, or formal, agricul tural sectors.This discourages farmers from expanding output and drives many into the informal market.The informal market has been growing so 18 aid 19 Speech by His Excellency Daniel arap Moi, on the 26th anniversary of Jamhuri Day, December 12,1989 20 World Development Report 1989, op.cit 21 aid, p. 103 11 rapidly that it created new jobs at a rate of 11 percent in 1988, compared to 5.4 percent in the legal market.

Some progress toward the elimination of price controls has been made.

Under pressure from such organizations as the Kenya Association of Manufacturers KAM which contends t hat price controls disrupt production and decrease export competitiveness, the Kenyan government has eliminated price controls on 76 pr0;ducts since last April. But prices remain controlled on eighteen major products, including most of the industrial sect or THREATS TO KENYAS SECURITY Kenyas security problems are not as severe as those facing its economy.

Nonetheless, Kenya finds itself surrounded by potentially threatening and heavily-armed regimes. Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni who is advised by Libyan military officers, has been stationing thousands of troops on Kenyas border since December 19

87. His aim apparently is to intimidate and des tabilize Kenya. Museveni and Libyan Dictator Muammar Qadhafi reportedly support Mwakenya, a Kenyan internal opposi tion movement formed in the 1980s Kenya also borders Ethiopia, which enjoys extensive military support from the Soviet Union and Cuba, receiving over 7 billion in military assistance for weapons and supplies since 19

77. Though Kenya has been at peace with Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile Mariam has attempted to destabilize the region with military force, primarily through support of the Somali National Mgve ment in Somalia and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army in Sudan.

Meanwhile, Kenyan relations with Somali a, Kenyas other northern neighbor are tense because of concern about Somalias substantial military power and the threat Moi believes it presents to Kenyan security Aid from the U.S. In recognition of Kenyas importance in East Africa, and in exchange for K enyas strategic cooperation with the U.S Washington sent Kenya $61.4 million in economic aid and $15 million in military aid last year.

This made Kenya the second-largest Sub-Saharan African recipient of U.S economic aid. Since Kenyan independence, U.S. ai d to Kenya has totalled 1.14 billion.23 During Kenyas drought in 1984, the U.S. gave Kenya $111 million in economic assistance. As the droughtwaned, U.S. ectiiioiiiicd w-as ;cut to $53 million in 19

86. Kenya then requested an increase, which has been ref used primarily because of cutbacks in U.S. assistance to Africa. Last years $61.4 million in economic assistance was used for birth control, financing of com 22 For a fuller discussion of Soviet involvement in Ethiopia and Mengistus aggressiveness in the H orn of Africa, see Johns, A U.S. Strategy to Foster Human Rights in Ethiopia, op. cif pp. 5-10 23 U.S Agency for International Development source 12 merci credit, fertilizer, and agricultural management training and educa- tion. 2f U.S. military assistanc e to Kenya began in 1976 when the Ford Administra tion sent Kenya a squadron of F-5E Eger II warplanes. Washington then was extremely worried about the Soviet military buildup of neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia. Though U.S. military assistance to Kenya ha s fallen from $22 milliori3n 1980 to last years $15 millioqthis continues to represent 60 per cent of the total U.S. security budget for Sub-Saharan Africa MOIS RULE Since becoming president in 1978, Daniel arap Moi has given Kenya some thing unknown to al m ost all of the rest of black Africa: political stability.The trouble is that this has been achieved at the expense of political pluralism and democracy. Moi rules through a one party state that allows no true elections and he sometimes intimidates his pol i tical opponents. But unlike many African nations, Moi has kept tribal factionalism from breaking out into violence. With the exception of an unsuccessful August 1982 coup attempt against Moi launched by elements of the Kenyan air force, Kenya has been at peace.

Moi is recognized in the Organization of African Unity (OAU) as one of the continents senior statesmen, and his experience and credibility are often sought to settle armed conflicts in Africa. As chairman of the Organiza tion of African Unity (OAU) from 1981 to 1983, Moi worked to resolve con flicts in Chad and Sudan. Recently, both African governments and rebel movements in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Sudan have called on Moi to help resolve long-standing civil wars in these respective countries Wide - Ranging Political Debate. Though a one-party state, Kenya under Moi permits a greater degree of political freedom and greater respect for human rights than do most African nations. In neighboring Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, for instance, human rights are abused more than in Kenya. Unlike Ethiopia and Somalia, Kenya allows some public debate over the countrys political future. And within Kenyas sole political party there are wide-rang ing debate and ideologies.

Human Rights and others have been per&tted io visit Kenya to inististe charges of human rights abuses. When a delegation from the Robert F. Ken nedy Memorial Center visited Kenya in March, for instance, the group was able to move about freely in Kenya to s peak to human rights advocates, ac Internationd hgman rights groups such as the Lawyers Committee on 24 U.S. Agency for International Development source 13cordin to the State Departments most recent annual report on human rights! Still, adds the report, h u man rights continue to be significantly restricted in Kenya, and in 1989 there was further erosion in the respect for civil liberties and political rights Other human rights organizations such as Africa Watch cptend that Moi has cracked down on press free doms over the past two years.

The international human rights group Amnesty International char ed in November 1988 that Kenyan political detainees have been tortured Answering Critics. The Kenyan government responds that these accusa tions are exaggerations . Charges of torture by Kenyan police have been habitually investigated by the government, and within the past two years, the government has charged and convicted nine Kenyan.police. officers for tortur ing detainees and issued them prison terms.

Moi allo ws an independent legislature to exist, though Kenyas voting sys tem, called queueing, denies Kenyans the right to a secret ballot in the primary voting. Under the queueing system, voters must queue for up to six hours behind a picture of the candidate fo r which they wish to vote. Queueing obviously intimidates voters and invites retribution against Kenyans who sup port losing candidates.Though queueing does not exist in general elections it remains for primary elections, which in a one-party state are by f ar the most important balloting 24 AN AMERICAN POLICY TOWARD KENYA In formulating U.S. policy toward Kenya, the Bush Administration should keep two points in mind 1) Kenya is one of Americas few allies in black Africa, and this alliance needs to be protec t ed and strengthened. A strong alliance with Kenya en sures U.S. military access to the region and gives Washington some economic and political influence in East Africa 2) Kenya is a relative success story in East Africa. Kenyas peaceful politi cal environ m ent and stable economy are rare in a region ravaged by brutal dictatorships, civil wars and famine. Moi, though deserving criticism for many things, still has proved his interest in fostering peace and stability in the Horn of- Africa;-Kenya%-economy, tho u gh still stifled-by. extensive-government regulation and corruption, is in far better shape than that of Ethiopia, Sudan Tanzania, or Uganda:The Bush Administration should highlight these achievements when developing policy toward East Africa, and remain 25 Country Reports on Human Ri

ts Pmctices for 1989: Kenya, op. cit., pp. 168-169 26 hid, p. 159 27 Kknya: Suppression of Press Freedom (Washington, D.C Africa Watch, December 6,1989 Kenya Human RiBts: An Update (New York Amnesty International, November 19 88 14 engaged in Kenya in order to encourage Moi to nudge Kenya toward political freedom and additional free market reforms To maintain a strong U.S.-Kenyan relationship, and to help foster economic and political freedom in Kenya, the Bush Administration s hould 4 4 Ensure continued American access to the Kenyan air and naval facility at Mombasa This,b.Re. on Ke.nyas Indian Oce-an,coast is an impor tant docking and refueling facility for American warships. The U.S. thus should seek to renew the agreement wh e n it comes up for renegotiation this year. Mombasa also offers U.S. warships and warplanes a launching ground for maneuvers in the Indian Ocean and surrounding areas, which is important in maintaining the free flow of international commerce and in respond i ng to any potential crisis in the region 4 4 Invite Moi to pay an official visit to Washington as soon as possible Bush hosted Zaires President Mobutu Sese Seko last June, Congos Presi dent Denis Sassou-Nguesso this February and Mozambiques President Joa q uim Chissano this March. He has had no other state visits from African heads of state. He thus should invite Moi to Washington in recognition of Kenyas importance to U.S. strategic and political interests and to strengthen the U.S.-Kenyan political, strat e gic, and trade relationship remains seriously hampered by government control. The Bush Administra tion should urge Kenya to introduce free market reforms that would privatize state-run agriculture, banking, and other industries, and would end price con tr o ls and marketing boards. Reducing governments involvement in the economy also would decrease Kenyas corruption problem. Kenya in March 1989 did simplify its import licensing procedure for foreign investment and soon Kenya is expected to establish export z o nes in Mombasa and Nairobi where imports and exports enter and exit Kenya with minimal regulation 4 4 Assist financially, through the National Endowment for Democracy NED Kenyan organizations supporting democratic and free market values The NED is a Washi n gton-based, non-partisan organization, funded by the U.S. government, that assists democratic organizations abroad No Kenyan institutions have yet applied to NED for assistance; but the U.S. em bassy in Nairobi should identify groups that would merit U.S. support, and arge them-to-apply-for NED assistance. One qualiMng organization would be the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents Kenyan businesses and is a strong supporter of free market reform. By strengthening this and other Kenyan organizations that support economic and political freedom, Washington can spur the growth of democracy and a free market economy in Kenya 4 4 Continue military assistance to Kenya. U.S. military assistance to Kenya this year is only 15 million, mos t of which is used to help maintain Kenyas air forces. This is important for Kenyas defense against Kenyas heavily-armed neighbors To assist Kenya in defending itself from these 4 4 Encourage free market reform in Kenya. The Kenyan economy 15 threats, U.S. military assistance to Kenya should be sustained at current levels 4 4 Organize an American-Kenyan business council to identify and resolve problems of U.S. investors in Kenya. One of the most serious challen ges to Kenyas economic stability is the recent trend of American disinvest ment from Kenya. Many Western investors, citing stifling economic regula tion and corruption, are removing their investments from Kenya To address this problem, a formal body could be established to conduct a dialogue be tween American investors and the Kenyan authorities. Such councils already exist between U.S. investors and foreign governments in Nigeria and Turkey.

They resolve differences between U.S. investors and the governments over in vestment codes, taxes, dividends, e mployment codes and other investment is sues CONCLUSION Kenya is an island of stability and potential in what is otherwise a disastrous region of the world. The countrys support for American strategic and policy objectives in East Africa is important to t h e U.S it needs to be preserved. By maintaining American military access to the sea port of Mombasa, and con tinuing American military assistance to Kenya, the U.S. can ensure continued strategic cooperation with Kenya. By advising and encouraging Kenya to remove stifling economic regulations, such as m?rketing boards and price controls, and encouraging it to end corruption, the U.S.-can assist Kenya in developing a stronger economy.

U.S.-Kenyan relations, but all of East Africa.The Bush Administration shou ld encourage Kenyan President Moi to correct human rights abuses deregulate and privatize the heavily state-dominated economy, and nudge his country toward multi-party democracy If successful with democratic and free market reforms, Kenya could set an exa mple for other poor East African countries to follow. But Washington can influence Moi only if the U.S remains engaged in Kenya. For this reason, Washington should continue economic and military assistance to Nairobi.

The collapse of communism in Eastern E urope, Nicaragua, and elsewhere leaves America-as the world3 sole superpower. Now the U.S. can take a lead in Africa to foster economic and political freedom. Foremost among Washingtons African allies is Kenya. Maintaining and strengthening this relations hip will be a springboard for bringing freedom, democracy and peace to the great continent of Africa Taking the Lead. A stable, prosperous and free Kenya will benefit not only Michael Johns Policy Analyst 16


Michael Johns

Former Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation