Oct 13, 2015

Swedish Ambassador to Kenya Speaks on Policy Making at Strathmore Law School

“Does having gold lying around in the sand make a country rich?” Some of the words of the esteemed Swedish Ambassador, Johan Borgstam as he gave a talk on policy making in the Swedish nation in relation to Kenya recently. The Ambassador was received by, Strathmore Law School Dean- Dr. Luis Franceschi. Ms. Bridgit Mugwe- a former student of Strathmore University, sang a beautiful Swedish summer folk song to welcome the Ambassador.


Amb. Borgstam began his talk by giving an account of how Sweden was one of the poorest European states up until the 19th Century. The country currently bases its success on strong frameworks and free trade; exports of iron and timber to the rest of Europe helped improve the GDP and the status of Sweden. He went on to emphasize that to encourage foreign investment, there is need for an environment with stability and predictability. This suitable environment can only exist where there are strong institutions since there can be no development without good governance. He especially directed this towards Kenya stressing the need for citizens to elect noble leaders who can bring along actual change within society.


The Ambassador delved into the important subject of human rights and justice. These two can only be enforced and upheld by responsible leaders playing a key role in national development. For a nation to fully thrive, each individual must be involved and the citizens who put sovereign in power entitled to a hearing. All these words he shared with such passion and conviction as he observed how in Kenya corruption, which is the bane of her being, is an endemic woe. He pointed out how there’s constant talk on ways of curbing and even eradicating corruption to a point that there ceases to be any action taken upon all the big talk. “It is more about the execution of justice as opposed to the activity of fighting corruption.” He said.


The talk was followed by a very interactive session with students putting forward their questions and concerns to the Ambassador. A topic of interest for the students hinged on trade. Many of the students wished to know whether the concept of open trade is a viable one for the growth of Kenya as well. His response went back to the idea of strong institutions that instigate this development sought after. One question enquired what he terms strong institutions as and how Kenya can realise such. The Ambassador pointed that in the Kenyan situation, there are organs of government that have distinct roles and ideally should be interdependent of each other. The idea is to elect upright leaders who are not merely focused on self-enrichment but more on the welfare of the people and the nation as a whole.


Amb. Borgstam gave an poignant description of his reception to Kenya upon his appointment, he portrayed the Kenyan people as absolutely hospitable and warm individuals. The Dean then invited Ms. Katherine Ndung’u, a first year law student to give the vote of thanks.  Ms. Ndung’u spoke on the need for law students to conjure ways of dealing with all the problems burdening Kenya while in school so as to effectively with such issues when the mantle is handed over to them.


Written by Katherine Ndung’u

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