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President Moi Led Kenya to Democracy

September 01, 2002

Re "Kenya's Big Man Is Being Belittled," Aug. 18: Certainly Kenyans are aware that an era is coming to an end with the retirement of President Daniel Arap Moi. However, as Kenyans approach their third multiparty elections in 10 years, they are also aware of the considerable debt that they owe to the man who has guided the country from a one-party state to a vibrant parliamentary democracy. Extraordinary changes have taken place in the country over the last decade. An open society has evolved in which political opinions of all shades are expressed with fervor and candor.

It is a distortion to say that the president is booed and heckled as he crosses the country. But surely the freedom to express dissenting views is part and parcel of any democracy and is to be welcomed. Kenya's press is no less forthright in criticizing the establishment. Is this not a sign of democracy too? There is much more to be said of the legacy that President Moi will bequeath to the nation--from the restoration of the once-defunct East African Community to the vital role of peacemaker in Africa.

Finally, it beggars belief that your article failed to acknowledge the importance of the massive constitutional review presently underway in Kenya. It does, in fact, mark the first time in nearly 40 years of independence that the people of Kenya have had the opportunity of playing a direct role in determining their constitution. This new constitution--a constitution for the 21st century--will also be part of President Moi's legacy.

Yusuf A. Nzibo

Ambassador of Kenya

Washington, D.C.

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