Archive for the ‘Kenya’ tag
Of Names and Naming
We can only hope this doesn’t result in more killings.
LAMU, Kenya — Riots erupted in Kenya on Tuesday as opposition leaders announced that they were suspending talks with the government over a stalled power sharing agreement.
According to witnesses, dozens of young men stormed into the streets of Kibera, a sprawling slum in the capital, Nairobi, lighting bonfires, ripping up railroad tracks and throwing rocks at police officers in a scene reminiscent of the violence that convulsed Kenya in the wake of the Dec. 27 election.
“No cabinet, no peace!” the protesters yelled, referring to the cabinet that has yet to be formed because of bitter divisions between the government and the opposition.
On a related note, Passport notes the increasing incidence of food riots as people all over the world struggle against record prices.
The opposition has announced that they’ve won, even while “official” results aren’t announced.
In a press conference at 1.30 am on Sunday morning Zimbabwe time Tendai Biti, the secretary general of the larger of the two wings of the MDC, said that preliminary results showed sweeping margins of victory across the country, even in Zanu-PF’s traditional heartland. ”We’ve won this election,” he said. ”We must savour these scenes as for the rest of our lives we’ll say we were there.”
I’m hoping this doesn’t turn out like Kenya, but I’m increasingly fearing it will.
The Christian Science Monitor tells of increasing vigilante violence in Mozambique. It all seems to share some similarities with the just-resolved conflict in Kenya.
Rising crime and vigilante justice are quickly becoming serious problems for this donor darling, long considered a stable, postconflict African success story.
The violence reflects growing inequality and increasing mistrust of authorities, observers say – sentiments often hidden beneath widely praised macroeconomic figures showing consistent growth.
“When people do not have trust in the system, when people do not feel that they are part and parcel of problem-solving, they organize themselves,” says Themba Masuku, a senior researcher at the Centre for Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg, South Africa, who has studied vigilante justice. “And they take the law into their own hands.”
Turns out the plan to suspend talks earlier this week worked. We should all be glad for that.
Kenya’s rival politicians have signed a peace deal to end the violent post-election crisis in which hundreds died.
President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga agreed to form a coalition government after weeks of wrangling, mediator Kofi Annan said.
The Economist has a good update on the situation in Kenya, and the slow effort to make peace. I kind of wish I’d read it before writing this, but I don’t know how much it would have helped.
…this week they started talking to each other. A former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, who is the leading mediator, has persuaded President Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu, to enter into negotiations with Raila Odinga, a Luo, who leads the opposition Orange Democratic Movement. Both leaders have appointed representatives to resolve what Mr Annan calls “immediate political issues” and break the impasse, but he gave warning that it may take much longer, even a year, to forge a solid and comprehensive agreement.
Making a case similar to Mr. Brilliant’s, The Economist argues that the situation in the world’s better than most think, and still improving.
Indeed, for a great many people the way things are is pretty rotten: Burmese monks, for instance, or the Luo in Kenya. Life is not too bright for investors at the moment, either. But is the broader proposition true? Is the world really becoming worse for the majority of mankind? We argue that it is not.
To some extent, our qualified optimism is borne out by impartial data. In this article we look at three pieces of evidence: the underlying social conditions in poor countries; poverty alleviation over the past decade; and the incidence of wars and political violence. By those measures the world seems to be in rather better shape than most people realise.
In light my last post, finding “Independence Daze” in the New York Times Magazine feels oddly repetitive and serendipitous. In any case, George Bass raises some interesting and vexing questions about when and how an area should be allowed to become a new country. The implications, he argues, go far beyond Kosovo.
A group can properly ask for international recognition when it is being oppressed so harshly that self-rule becomes the best method to save lives and liberties. As Allen Buchanan, a Duke University philosopher, has argued, the right to secede is a “remedial right only” — a way of rectifying a wrong. This rule should be taken together with the late John Rawls’s reminder that there is no right to secede when secession entails subjugating another people. Rawls thus denied a Southern right to split off from the United States in 1861, since that course of action perpetuated slavery. These two guidelines would help insulate international political debate from the endless claims and counterclaims of nationalist rhetoric.
In “No Country for Old Hatreds,” Binyavanga Wainaina contends that Kenya’s poorly-formed identity as a single people and nation is the reason for the recent ethnic violence.
Five years ago, we voted for a broad and nationally representative government. Inside this vehicle were the country’s major tribes: the Luo, the Luhya, the Kikuyu, many Kalenjin — all the people now killing one another. […]
Tragically, President Mwai Kibaki instead steered a course away from the coalition and cultivated the support of his Kikuyu community. He did a good job rebuilding the civil service and managing the economy, but he did it within a framework that was not sustainable.
When it came time to conduct our most recent election, Raila Odinga had built a movement on the back of President Kibaki’s betrayal of the spirit of 2002. His political party, the Orange Democratic Movement, was the big ethnic tent similar to the one that had first brought President Kibaki to office.
On the day we cast our vote, we thought that our optimism and desire for an inclusive and broad government would prevail. Instead, three days later — after reports that votes were being “cooked” in Kikuyu strongholds, after skirmishes in the room where the results were being announced, after the news media were ejected — Mr. Kibaki was announced the winner and a haphazard swearing-in took place. And Kenya exploded.
The BBC is reporting:
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki says he is ready to form a government of national unity, an official statement said. […]
But opposition leader Raila Odinga says Mr Kibaki must step down as president and that his preferred option remains for new elections to be held.
I have no doubt that this comes after at least some outside pressure. And though it’s clearly not the best outcome (which would be a truly fair election), it could certainly be better than continued violence and ethnic conflict.