Mar 01 2008

Kenya & the crisis of African governance

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 3:48 AM

How well will the political compromise in Kenya work? Kenyans await the answer, which will be told not only in terms of ethnic reconciliation but also in the delivery of basic government services. Kabaki and Odinga vie for power across a great national canvas but for ordinary people the true measure of a nation’s greatness lies in ordinary benefits: safe schools, effective police, a workable transportation system, courts and government agencies that correct mistakes. Even in the best of times, African governments fail to provide the basic goods that people elsewhere in the world come to take as normal. The improvisational ability of ordinary Africans is impressive. But Africans making the best of a bad situation still leaves much for them to desire. I am reminded of this half-empty reality by a comment of Nicolas Van De Walle’s in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. Writes Van De Walle:

“First, African citizens are demonstrating considerable resilience and imagination in finding ways to make up for the failures of public authority, and second, neoliberal myths notwithstanding, this redress is never complete — state failures do continue to exercize a substantial cost on Africans’ quality of life.”


Mar 01 2008

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 3:06 AM

“The crossroads of cultures does have a certain dangerous potency; dangerous because a man might perish there wrestling with multiple-headed spirits, but also he might be lucky and return to his people with the boon of prophetic vision.” — Chinua Achebe


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