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Kenyan Ex-Leader Says Don't  Look to Obama for Answers


Former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi cautions Kenyans from putting excessive hope in U.S. President Barack Obama and says Kenyans should be focusing on finding local solutions to their problems.

Mr. Moi's remarks come on the heels of President Obama's visit to the West African country of Ghana where he called on African leaders to confront the continent's struggles with poverty and poor governance.

Kenya was the homeland of President Obama's father. Some saw Mr. Obama's decision to visit Ghana as a snub to Kenya for its recent instability and democratic difficulties.

Mr. Moi reportedly told a group of churchgoers on Sunday that Kenyans were foolish to look to Mr. Obama to save the country from its problems, saying that Kenyans should not be looking to outsiders for issues that they need to solve themselves.

He also criticized Kenyans' fixation on Mr. Obama's visit to Africa, accusing many Kenyans of acting as if the U.S. president's words would immediately impact their lives.

Kenyan political analyst Barrack Muluka says that although Mr. Moi's remarks may appear to be directed against Mr. Obama, the former Kenyan leader's statement in fact closely mirrors the core message Obama offered to the troubled continent.

"I think [Moi] is giving very practical counsel to the people of Africa. And I think his message is basically in tandem with that of Obama - Africa should look up to itself," Muluka said.

In his speech, Mr. Obama called on African leaders to buck the continent's long track record of poor governance and human rights abuses. The speech suggested that African leaders must cease blaming outsiders for the region's political instabilities and lagging economic development.

Mr. Moi led Kenya for 24 years as its president. His rule resembled that of other African "strongmen" of the time and is criticized for its dictatorial tendencies and widespread corruption.

Muluka says that Mr. Moi's remarks - despite containing the positive message that Kenyans should look inward for the country's answers - come across as hypocritical considering the poor state in which he left the country at the end of his rule.

"When Obama speaks about the betrayed hopes and dreams, it's obviously people like Moi he has in mind who have contributed to getting us where we are," Muluka said.

After Mr. Obama won the U.S. presidential election, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki announced the following day as a national holiday.

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