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Barack Obama Cites Corruption as Greatest Threat to Kenya's Future

U.S. Senator Barack Obama addressed students at Nairobi University in his last official engagement in his father's homeland of Kenya. In his speech he focused on the problem of graft, saying the crisis was the greatest threat to Kenya's future.

Senator Barak Obama has vowed to become a strong voice in Congress for the future development of Africa. He addressed the students of Nairobi University, his father's alma mater, as the future leaders of the country.

He said since its independence, Kenya has made great strides as a nation, with very little ethnic conflict and a successful move towards a multi-party, democratic system.

But he said changes still need to be made. He said both Kenya and the international community have to work together to create sustainable and lasting development in the country, and in Africa as a whole.

"I believe that my country and other nations have an obligation and self interest in being full partners with Kenya and with Africa because Kenya is not looking for handouts and neither is Africa," said Barack Obama. "What they are looking for is partnership with the United States and I will do my part to shape an intelligent foreign policy that promotes peace and prosperity."

Obama said that if Kenya is to encourage development it has to strive towards transparency in government and to reject politics based on ethnicity and patronage.

He said Kenyans must work together to stamp out the crippling culture of corruption.

"Freedom today is in jeopardy it is being threatened by corruption," he said. "Corruption is not a new problem, it is not just a Kenyan problem, it is not just an African problem, it is a human problem and when western nations talk about corruption they should make sure they are also cleaning their own house. That is important. But having said that, we all here have to admit that here in Kenya it is a crisis. It is a crisis."

Obama said corruption has been the major factor behind slow economic growth and is why many of Kenya's brightest and best educated feel they need to move to the West to prosper.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and his National Rainbow Coalition party came to power in 2002, pledging to end the rampant corruption which defined the more than two decade-long regime of Daniel arap Moi. But President Kibaki's government has been plagued by allegations of corruption, which have further tarnished Kenya's international image.