“I cannot think of any African I know who did not accept that the United Kingdom had the right to choose to leave the European Union. But if Africans attempt to exercise their sovereign will – if Africans attempt to exercise their sovereignty, and to democratically set aside international commitments which no longer work for them – we hear a barrage of voices which tell us we can’t.”
These were the words of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta to the diplomatic community in Uganda’s capital, Kampala on Saturday night condemning what he describes as the international system that “relegates Africa to the periphery”.
He warned that if the international order “that defends injustice and double standards” is not changed, the recent gains and progress made by the continent with resilience will be lost.
“The opportunities that lie before us today are especially ripe. Africa is rising – and it is rising no matter what the naysayers tell us. The tremors of that rise will be felt far and wide,” he added.
Kenyatta also urged African states to shift focus to “local globalization” by opening each other’s borders and increasing trade to push the pan-Africanism agenda.
“The mirage of the older globalization has faded, we see clearly that we are each other’s best hope. It is time to localize globalization, if I may coin a phrase. We need to open Africa up to each other, and to prosper together. That is Pan-Africanism for this century,” he said.
He emphasized on a united front for Africa with one voice abroad so as to secure the continent’s interest by strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and solidarity.
“For our partners from around the world, let it be clear that we are partners. Mutual respect is what we seek,” he advised the international community.
Kenya withdrew thousands of its troops from South Sudan this month after the dismissal of the Kenyan commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) after a United Nations inquiry accused UNMISS of failing to respond to an attack on a hotel in Juba in July.
“Kenya will not agree to be scapegoated by a mission that has failed to execute its mandate. Pulling out troops will however not affect Kenya’s position in regional peace,” Kenyatta reacted to his country’s decision.
Meanwhile, Kenya is considering exiting the International Criminal Court for alleged injustices targeted at African leaders.
Six Kenyans, including President Kenyatta were charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged leading roles in the 2007-2008 post-election violence that left more than 1,000 people dead and forced 600,000 from their homes.
The charges were later dropped leaving tension between the country and the ICC.
Burundi, South Africa and Gambia have already started the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court due to similar reasons.