Apr 12 2009

Is Kenya on the Brink?

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 2:16 AM

Kenya’s coalition government is facing an unrelenting barrage of criticism — and now predictions of “imminent” civil war, by security analysts in the East African country.

The main charge is that Kibaki and Odinga, the respective leaders of the country’s powerful Kikuyu and Luo ethnic groups, have failed to make good on promises made a year to forge new alliances, undercutting the appeals to “tribal” affiliations that marred the national elections in December 2007 and led to widespread post-election violence. The failure to create a trans-ethnic political culture in Kenya, bemoaned loudly by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is linked to a deeper pathology in the country’s ruling elite: endemic corruption.

The pillage of national revenues is the subject of an incendiary new book on Kenya by the British journalist Michela Wrong who essentially indicts the entire national political leadership in the theft of more than $500 million in public funds.

The coordinated attack on Kenya’s reputation — along with baroque and increasingly cries of impending doom — reflect a narrow-mindedness about the region. Kenya’s ills are indeed terrible but they are probably less terrible than those afflicting neighboring Sudan and Somalia. To be sure, Kenyans should move to reduce the violence that imperils civil society and the country’s poor and elite alike.But the best way to create conditions for peace may not be to exaggerate the threats to it, in Kenya or anywhere else in Africa.

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