Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kenya faces political meltdown

From the Beeb

It's the same old story isn't it? That bit about power and corruption. Look, I know all politicians in all countries do it. It's the grease that keeps the wheels behind the scenes cranking along, and temptation will always come to those who hold the purse strings, as we saw last year in the UK with the MP expenses scandal.

But let's face it, that was small fry, not much over a million pounds. Heck, the Queen shits out a million pounds in one month, and those politicos almost all apologised; they were named, blamed and shamed (who can forget Senior MP Jacqui Smith's husband
humiliated on national telly, apologising to the Country for passing off porno movies as "expenses?" It was only a few quid, but he had to stand up and face the music and thereby disgrace himself and his wife, till death-them-do-part)

But not in Africa, land of the shrunken pre-frontal lobe. Where the extent of corruption runs into the billions, no holds barred! Where entire industries are hijacked for the personal gain of a few elite, whose Swiss bank accounts swell to monumental proportions, whilst the populations of their countries starve.

And of course, hand in hand with corruption comes power. And this is the trend that Africa has set, without exception.

I remember a few years back liberals would be quite smug in pointing to Kenya as the "Jewel" of Africa. A successful post-colonial African Nation State, especially as a rejoinder to arguments that Africa has failed, that it is irredeemable.

We all know the story in Kenya; the 2007 elections that led to riots and bloodshed that took Kenya to the brink of civil war. A power struggle ensued which was never resolved, and continues to worsen.

Hot on the heels of the failed election came the corruption that has reached stratospheric heights. We've seen it mirrored in Zimbabwe too, where the results of the power struggle between Zanu PF and the MDC are even worse.

Can you deny that something similar is coming to SA? Perhaps you delude yourself that somehow, SANS are going to come out of this weird situation they find themselves in. Perhaps you keep hope alive because you sense that it is not that bad yet.

The only reason for that is that the political power still resides overwhelmingly with the ANC. Don't kid yourself, if ANC hegemony is ever seriously challenged, there will be bloodshed, and lot's of it. So watch Kenya carefully, and tonight, be thankful that the black boss, the ANC, still has ALL the power in ZA! They may be corrupt, but threaten the power they have and what will follow will make Kenya look like a Sunday school picnic.

Ongoing political wrangling in Kenya's coalition government is having a major detrimental effect on its fight against corruption, a lobbying group warns.

Transparency International warned Kenya risked turning into a failed state.

A rift in the fragile power-sharing government developed after PM Raila Odinga announced the suspension of two ministers after corruption scandals.

President Mwai Kibaki annulled the suspensions, saying the Mr Odinga did not have the power to take the action.

The head of Transparency International in Kenya, Job Ogonda, said the political dispute in Kenya's coalition government was sending out a very dangerous message.

It was showing that the struggle for power was more important than the fight against corruption and this, he said, would have dire consequences come the next election.

"In 2012 it's very likely we're going to have a meltdown," said Mr Ogonda.

"We have the significant risk that Kenya will be generating to a failed state.

"This is how in Sierra Leone and indeed Liberia were fomented: the executive being eliminated and oblivious for the failed state risks that corruption causes especially where the population is young, educated and unemployed".

Plagued by scandal

Fighting corruption in Kenya is a difficult - some would say impossible - task.

Mr Ogonda said his staff had been threatened on several occasions.

While he said some Kenyan politicians had built a reputation through professionalism and accountability, he was on the whole scathing of the political elite.

"Within parliament you find a new breed of leaders who are committed to the good governance of this country, but the vast majority of the people who wield immense power are definitely fraudsters," he said.

Kenya has in the past been plagued by huge corruption scandals, but punishing the perpetrators is very rare.

Whilst the political dispute in Kenya has halted the suspension of two ministers, Job Ogonda said if they were to be suspended it would send out a positive message and would help end a deeply entrenched culture of impunity.

2 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

I have a Kenyan man working in my company in Oz and he says that the Somali pirates launder their money in Kenya by buying up real estate with the ransom money. The government is aware of this but ignore the problem - wonder why...

Anonymous said...

So what's new in this dark continent. Sound's like south africa, already on the path doen the slippery slope.