Monday, June 14, 2010

VP Biden Concludes Travels to Egypt and Kenya

VP Joseph Biden arrived in South Africa for the opening of the World Cup on Friday June 11th following several days of appearances in Egypt and Kenya. The White House maintained a blog of Biden's trip during his weeklong travels through Africa. During his time in Kenya, the Vice President visited the Kibera slum (one of the largest in the world), and met with Parliamentary members to encourage them to embrace the upcoming Kenyan constitutional referendum. In December 2007, there were disputed election results between the current President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. The ethnically based dispute ended with a temporary constitutional amendment that made Kibaki President and Odinga the Prime Minister, but by that time over 1,300 people were dead and 300,000 had been displaced.

Second Lady Jill Biden also met with Mrs. Mubarak, the wife of the Egyptian President, and visited a Kenyan girls high school during the trip. The boarding school takes in many orphaned children and provides them with a free high-quality education. Dr. Biden said that she left the Kenyan school with a renewed sense of the human spirit.

During the trip, VP Biden emphasized the need for stability in the African region, Somalia and Sudan in particular. Throughout the his time in Kenya, Biden emphasized the need for greater representation of the Kenya youth in the political process. This in turn will reduce the ethnic tensions that plagued the country during the last Presidential election. During his speech to university students in Nairobi, Biden stated that "nowhere is it written that the wind's of change cannot blow through Africa."

-Matthew Thwaites