Saturday, 5 January 2008

News from Kenya

On the day that the last election results were announced in Kenya, just after Xmas 2003, I was flying out of the country, which had been my base for much of the previous two years. Mwai Kibaki had come to power as president on the back of his promise to tackle the mega-corruption surrounding his predecessor Daniel Moi. As he promised a corruption-free new era in a radio broadcast being played over the airport public address system, I was paying bribes to the airport police to get some innocuous - but to me very important - goods through customs.

It soon became obvious that little had changed. Kibaki's new political elite did their deals with the old one. No one of significance was ever prosecuted for the billions that had gone missing under the old regime; billions more went into private pockets under the new one. Now the same people, having failed to buy sufficient votes to keep Kibaki in office, have stolen the election with obvious and widespread fraud.

The best coverage I have read on the subject can be found here on the Pambazuka News website:

It is the Kenyan people who have lost the election
Firoze Manji (2008-01-03)
Kenya is entering a protracted crisis. No one really knows who actually won the presidential elections. Given the overwhelming number of parliamentary seats won by the ODM and the dismissal of some 20 former ministers who lost their seats, it seems likely that the presidential results probably followed suit. But it is no longer really a matter of who won or lost. For one thing is certain: it is the Kenyan people who have lost in these elections.

Drama of the popular struggle for democracy in Kenya
Horace Campbell (2008-01-03)
This analysis by Horace Campbell argues that the calls for peace and reconciliation by the political and religious leaders will remain hollow until there are efforts to break from the recursive processes of looting, extra judicial killings, rape and violation of women, and general low respect for African lives. The analysis is presented as a drama of three acts.

Kibaki must back down
Victoria Brittain (2008-01-03)
Victoria Brittain writes that Kenya has sworn in a president who wasn't elected with little protest from the west. The flawed poll has to be rerun if the violence is to end.

No justice, no peace!
Onyango Oloo (2008-01-03)
Onyango Oloo dissects the "save our country" media blitz ad argues that behind the non-partisanship approach might actually be making a case for a Mwai Kibaki presidency.

The choices before us: Reflections on Mwai Kibaki and the 2007 Kenya General Elections
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o (2007-12-17)
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o reflects on Mwai Kibaki's presidency, the proliferation of what he terms paper parties, and the need for African democracy to speak for and to African peasants and workers - the marginalized majority.

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