Monday, January 28, 2008

Kenya - Understanding Kenya's Politics

Stephanie Hanson of the Washington Post has an interesting link-saturated run-down of Kenya's politics. It matches Alan's account somewhat. She talks about the corruption at the government level and more broadly across society.

Midway through, she summarizes:

Though much of Kenya's ethnic violence can be attributed to political manipulation, there are economic inequalities between some ethnic groups, and long-standing bitter disputes over land, particularly in the Rift Valley.
This is the only mention of the land disputes, though this and the ethnic revenge seem to be the main reasons for the number of killings.

She concludes:
For Kenya's economy to take off, it must distribute power among ethnic groups. "Kenya could be a shining example," says Barkan. "But it could unravel further politically and the economy could become moribund." Juma believes for regional imbalances to be addressed, the country needs to upgrade its infrastructure. He suggests that a large-scale government employment scheme, structured like the New Deal in the 1930s United States, could employ youth to do this. [emphasis mine]
I would disagree with this assessment. Government does not have to "distribute power" or create an African New Deal. It simply needs to protect the natural rights of its citizens -- life, liberty, property. It has failed miserably at this because of the rampant corruption that has created an environment of self-serving politicians. Urging more government action is giving the arsonist a match and telling him to "do some good."

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