Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

2007 Ends with a Bang . . .

First in Pakistan and now in Kenya. This is probably also something to watch in the coming days and months. Kenya is one of the more reasonable places in Africa but, as you can see from this article and the other dispatches coming out of the place, still beset by the problems--caused mainly--by tribalism but put to use by various factions only too happy to use that weakness to their advantage.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Kenya is only reasonable in African terms. It is not a reasonable place. Julie, you would not like it. The poverty is incredible, with unemployment at something like 50%. Development is slow and difficult because of stupid government policies and the usual post-colonial African messes. Corruption provides a weird kind of stability - you can count on it as you you cannot count on much else.

The current president, Kibaki, who came into office as an anti-corruption candidate and then apparently succumbed to the prevailing culture, has famous problems with his wives. His opponent, Raila Odinga, has children named for Fidel Castro and Winnie Mandela and politics to match. The US and Britain are not supporting Kibaki because of probable election corruption, but will not like the alternative once he is in office. We never seem to learn with Africa. It is probably the corrupt guy who is the better choice, both for freedom's sake and for us politically. Which is the most corrupt guy is probably the right question to ask. It seems unlikely that Odinga is going to be corrupt in any way we will like. But we know the corruption of the Kibaki administration and so seem to feel the need to pretend the other guy is not going to be so corrupt. What a faint and silly hope. Poor Kenya.

I can stop complaining about our election campaign when I consider Kenya's. In relative terms, it doesn't much matter who is elected here. We have some limits on how much harm can be done. In Africa, look at Zimbabwe, elect the wrong guy and you can have him for his remaining lifetime.

Your analysis of Kenya is sound, Kate. I have no doubt that Kibaki is corrupt. But I am pretty sure, from what I have read, that Odinga is both corrupt and ideologically rotten. Lesser of two evils, indeed!

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