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Sir Edward Clay Interview

October 21, 2010

A news article based on an interview with Sir Edward Clay, retired British diplomat and former High Commissioner in Kenya.

Corrupting the constiution

A surprising number of Kenyans live in fear of violent outbreaks and corruption, a former British High Commissioner has revealed.

While speaking about developments within Kenya’s government, Sir Edward Clay admitted that fear of political upheaval during elections is still a very present aspect of life in Kenya.

He said: “Usually [Kenyans] realise that what they have in common is more important than what divides them. It’s one of their strengths. So I hope that there won’t be [civil unrest]. But I am struck by the number of people, Kenyans included, who are a bit fearful.”

In an interview with a City University journalist yesterday, Sir Clay highlighted advances that have been made under the leadership of President Kibaki. He said: “Firstly, there was a successful transition of leadership. That transition was really important. Secondly, the economy has done reasonably well. Thirdly, Kenya has got a new constitution, which is something that people have argued and fought for, for 15 or more years. So there are three really big gains.’

Despite praising the newly promulgated constitution, the former diplomat stressed that it could be a long time before any of the legislation is acted upon and any real changes are made. He explained: “It is not yet in force. They have decreed that the constitution will happen… and on the Kenyan Parliament’s past record for productivity that’s asking a lot.”

He added: “[Corruption] won’t stop just because a new constitution has been promulgated, but it might stop when that constitution really comes into force and when more exacting standards of accountability, an un-bent judiciary and a properly responsible and responsive police command are achieved, it might.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2010 9:22 am

    Well done on getting this interview with Sir Edward, Charlie. I met him once when he was in Kenya and he is a good bloke! I agree with the observations he gave you. There is little respect for the rule of law in Kenya, but the place works despite that, and is a wonderful country to live in. Corruption is a huge issue as it has become entirely democratic and institutionalised. It will take at least a generation after the full enactment of the new constitution to get rid of it.
    BTW your mother, Hilary, and I worked together many moons ago.
    Good luck with this blog, your course, and your future career.

  2. James J. Jeremiah permalink
    October 9, 2011 10:05 pm

    I am a Kenyan Residing in the united States, who respects diplimatic era of Sir Edward Clay in Kenya. Yes, I agree with Sir Caly, Corruption has been part of Kenyan DNA, which had even been institutionlized among top government leaders. We should appreciate the risk and sacrifise taken by firm Diplomatic Giants like Sir Edward Clay from U.K., the Mr. Smith Hemstone frim U.S.A., and Mr. Michael Renneberger from U.S.A., for the well being of the Kenyan Citizens. Noted by James J. Jeremiah.

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